Institute Attacks FAA Child Restraint Mandate As Deadly

Washington, DC, December 17, 1999 – The Competitive Enterprise Institute today charged that FAA’s newly-proposed child restraint mandate will actually increase transportation fatalities. The mandate, announced earlier this week, is characterized by the agency as a life-saving measure. In fact, according to CEI, FAA long ago recognized that such a mandate would actually kill people, by forcing many families to drive rather than fly due to the resulting increase in the cost of air travel for young families. Because highway travel is far riskier than air travel, the net effect will be a loss of life.

CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman, who has testified on this issue before Congress, stated: “A series of independent analyses has demonstrated that while a child restraint mandate might save one to two lives in the air every decade, it could cause up a dozen deaths each year by diverting travel to our highways. FAA recognized this long ago. The only basis for its reversal this week is politics, pure and simple.”

The political impetus for the rule stems from the high-profile nature of airline accidents. A single child’s death in a plane is front-page news, while a dozen road traffic fatalities are back-page stories. The political attraction of campaigning to protect children in the air is incredibly strong, even if it means more deaths on the highways. While FAA resisted that attraction for several years by advancing real safety, it has now caved in.

CEI, a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group founded in 1984, is dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. For more information, please contact Emily McGee, Director of Media Relations, at 202-331-1010, ext. 209.