TSA body scanner rule challenged in federal court

AMI Newswire interviews Marc Scribner about CEI's lawsuit over TSA airport body scanners:

"It is unclear to TSA how the risk associated with motor vehicles should influence TSA's decision making on airport screening practices," the agency wrote in its final rule.

"Regardless of the safety or security risks associated with other modes of transportation," the ruling continues,  "TSA should pursue the most effective security measures reasonably available so that the vulnerability of commercial air travel to terrorist attacks is reduced."

CEI's Scribner told AMI Newswire the agency's analysis is woefully inadequate. "The TSA fails to address comments made in 2013 on their proposed rule and failed to conduct proper benefit-cost and risk analyses," he said, adding that "a similar example raised in the past was the proposed 'lap baby' prohibition."

Scribner explained that "in the late 1980s and early 1990s, some started calling for the FAA to ban 'lap babies,' or unticketed children under 2-years-old held in their parents’ laps during flights." Those backing the ban said "unsecured children could be injured and killed during aircraft accidents and proposed requiring parents to purchase another seat with a special harness," he said.

Scribner said that an FAA economist determined "that the cost of purchasing an additional seat would lead some parents to drive instead, leading to 16 additional road fatalities for every lap baby life saved," and is the reason why the agency declined to adopt a rule banning 'lap babies' on flights.

This is not the first time the TSA has been to court over the rule on body scanners.

In 2011, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the TSA to begin the rule-making process for body scanners. A year later, the court told TSA it expected the rule to be "published before the end of March, 2013."

The TSA published its notice of proposed rule-making toward the end of March, 2013. But critics, including CEI and former American Airlines CEO Robert Crandall, argued the agency failed to provide a cost-benefit analysis of the proposed rule.