Saturday, June 12, 2010

CAFE Standards Continue to Take Toll: Another 'Smart Car' Driver Dead

Aren't arbitrary government fuel efficiency regulations awesome?

ABC-15 in Phoenix reports that a deadly accident killed the driver of the high-speed golf cart known as a "Smart Car".

All lanes of a popular roadway out of the Valley have reopened after a deadly crash Friday... According to the Department of Public Safety, both directions of U.S. 93 were blocked due to a 3-vehicle crash that occurred just before noon Friday... [where] one person died at the scene.

Bailey said the accident happened at milepost 193 when a Toyota Camry, driven by 80-year-old Arthur Bridgeforth of Wickenburg, veered left of the center line striking a Smart Car traveling northbound head-on.

The driver of the Smart Car, 32-year-old Zane Horton of Glendale, died at the scene, Bailey said. A passenger in the vehicle, Jacqueline Horton, 34, suffered serious injuries and was air-lifted to a Valley hospital. Bailey said she is expected to be treated and released.

...A Ford F150 pickup truck with five people traveling behind the Smart Car was also involved in the crash. Bailey said two people in the vehicle suffered minor injuries and were not transported to the hospital for treatment.

Put simply, government's unconstitutional CAFE standards have claimed yet another victim, just one of 2000 deaths caused by "fuel efficiency" regulations annually.

If Americans -- I mean, Republicans -- can take back Congress in November, one of the first orders of business should be completely disbanding (or de-funding) the EPA.

Related: Death Trap: the Smart Car Story.


Anonymous said...

Even the smart car won't help citizens, we'll be on chinese bicycles once the dictators in washington finish their latest scheme and increase the blend of ethanol in our gasoline to 15%.

This payback to the corn ethanol lobbyists will blow up every lawnmower and weed whacker engine, corrode fuel lines and ruin the engines of most older cars and impose a death sentence on american cars.

How can you mandate higher fuel mileage and then mandate using fuel that has significantly less energy per gallon? Cars running on lower octane fuel have to get less MPG- is there nobody in the entire democrat party with a kid taking science class?

Anonymous said...

Look at the bright side, the dude was a Democrat.

Anonymous said...

such an insensitive comment, and untrue. He was my brother.

Anonymous said...

Yeah blame the vehicle not the idiot behind the wheel real intelligent. The speed limit is 70 mph on that highway so the point of impact was 140 mph. Its a miracle everybody didn't die.

Anonymous said...

How could you let your brother drive the death-mobile marketed as a Smart Car?

Anonymous said...

If the F-150 would have hit head on at 140 mph, I would question that result too.
Puzzling is the serious injury of the passenger who will be released very soon. Is that then a serious injury?
The smart car is safe and sophisticated except in a serious head on collision, where the rest of the vehicles would be damaged likewise.
Most accidents have the usual- SUV or truck flipped and the occupants were not wearing their seat belts and they died outside the vehicle. That idiocy I read every couple of days.
Golf cart my rear end! The reporter is a wise guy and he should stick to the job of reporting, not commenting.
My condolences to the family

JeremyR said...

I thought coal powered vehicles ended with the Stanley Steamer.
If folks want to challenge the trucks on the road in little more then a high speed office chair, that is their right. When Government interference mandates it, it is a crime.
Don't defund or fire the EPA, jail em, murder by neglect.

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine anyone feeling good about a death in an auto accident. However...

Some of the comments show that people can be cold AND STUPID and the same time. If facts matter, look at the data from the IIHS:

There is only one car that fits in the 2 door micro category in the IIHS's data, the Smart Car; better know as the smart fortwo. Thus any reference to a 2 door micro car has to be the smart.

Under "Relative claim frequency" the Smart shows 82; where average car is 100 and lower numbers represent less claims. In comparison, a 2 door mini is 107 and a 2 door small is 147; both higher than normal. A 4 door mini is 184 and a 4 door small is 144.

In "RELATIVE AVG LOSS PAYMENTS PER CLAIM", the smart was 94 and the average car was 100. One would expect that a car that was a "Death Trap" would have a higher level of injury than below average and greater injuries translate into higher medical costs. Clearly, the smart fortwo does NOT fit the pattern of unsafe and higher risk of injury in an accident.

People die in car crashes every day, if you could remove your head from your rear end, you might discover how pathetic your comments really are!

Anonymous said...

Anon at 1:09PM: Wouldn't the stats on the Smart Dumb car be low because there are so few of them on the road relative to other cars?

And the reason their numbers are given the impression of showing it to be a "safe" car is because so many of them are driven in urban environments so the speeds are already lower than regular cars.

But I have to give you credit for defending your fellow moonbats.

Anonymous said...

Hi Doug:

Please do your research prior to commenting on the safety of any vehicle. The deceased, according to reports, was a software engineer, so I am pretty certain he was an intelligent guy. I am considering a smart and I am a conservative very well educated person. Again, it would be nice to have you comment about the tridion frame, and frame material used (Merc S-class). You're a smart man, so next time write something that has credibility. Thanks.

04max said...

AT 2:16:

Perhaps your mom & dad will can ask for their money back for your education if you have one. Can you provide some statistics other than a dopey comment, "And the reason their numbers are given the impression of showing it to be a "safe" car is because so many of them are driven in urban environments so the speeds are already lower than regular cars".

Please prove that rather than making a silly unsupported comment.

I highly doubt the other poster is a "Moonbat" nor the owner who perished. I have yet to meet a smart owner who was a "wacky lib" as you assert.

Anonymous said...

Not enough information to judge safety of one car vs. another. We don't know if any of the drivers were wearing seat belts, had other health problems, anything. I've seen plenty of crash data with each of these three cars, where each one comes up the 'winner.'

Go ahead and judge now from a single article with only a few surface facts, if you want. You'll just make yourself look like an idiot when your political rant is proven to be based on misinformation.

Anonymous said...

Apparently all you haters in here find some sort of entertainment value in the fact that the person who died was indeed in a smart (car). The fact remains, smarts are very very very safe cars, and had that person been in another car, unfortunately the end result may have been the same. Just very lucky for the elderly driver at fault that the smart owner chose a smart over a Dodge Ram (it into anything you feel like). Otherwise the elderly driver would have not lived to kill again.

Anonymous said...

Leave it to the ignorant to yet-again judge an automobile, herein referred to as a "high-speed golf cart" as anything but safe. Safety has nothing at all to do with size.

The writer of the original commentary must be confusing his own anatomical short-coming with the size of an automobile.

If any of you would have taken a moment out of your hard day's work of stroking your own ego or opinion, you might have discovered that Mercedes Benz made no compromise when designing the smart. The cars have been driven for now 13 years in European countries, and several years in the U.S.. They have proven themselves to be dependable and safe time and time again. (see

I pity all of you who go find the biggest Ford Extinction you THINK you can afford, and drive 80+mph while talking on the cell phone, eating fast food and trying to control your 2.7 stupid kids in the back seat while watching DVD's on your screen mounted to the dashboard, while sucking down the gasoline like there's no tomorrow, and not giving a damn about the future of this planet.

We smart owners and drivers have made a conscientious decision to reduce our damage to the planet, use less oil, produce less pollution, and take up less space. The average smart owner/driver is 40 years and over, tend to be well educated, and drive responsibly.

Put that in your bong and smoke it!

directorblue said...

All of your Smart Car fanboys didn't bother to read the critical link in the story.

The very lowest estimate of the number of deaths caused by ridiculous CAFE standards that resulted in inane autos like the Smart Cart is... 2000.

Some estimates are higher.

Those are the facts. Now, get into those kids shopping cart lookalikes and drive on out this neck o' the woods and back onto your Smart Cart forum.

Anonymous said...

[quote]Anon at 1:09PM: Wouldn't the stats on the Smart Dumb car be low because there are so few of them on the road relative to other cars?[/quote]

I'm guessing that you must have flunked basic math and you never bothered to look at the link. The IIHS Data was scaled to take into account differences in the number of cars on the road and scale it for a valid comparison.

By the way, the FARS Data for crashes in 2008 shows ZERO fatalities for the smart for two. Based on the number of Smart Cars on the road in 2008, the AVERAGE car would have had 1 or 2 deaths. We are still waiting for the data for 2009.

Now if you want to call the Smart Car a "Death Trap", please provide some real world data to back up your position and a "Strong Opinion" is not real world data.

Anonymous said...

The very lowest estimate of the number of deaths caused by ridiculous CAFE standards that resulted in inane autos like the Smart Cart is... 2000.

Some estimates are higher.

The problem with your logic is that the study ASSUMES this:
Back in 2002, the National Academy of Sciences did a study on the effects of CAFE. They found that over the three decades CAFE has been in effect, downsizing of cars and trucks for fuel economy has cost us about 2,000 lives per year.

Less steel framing and smaller size equals more miles per gallon. It also means you’re rolling down the road in a vehicle with much less crashworthiness, making you more vulnerable to every stationary object, to that semi behind you … and to the guy in the normal-sized car.

The problem with your assumption is that the Smart Car DOES NOT HAVE "Less steel framing" and in fact has a very solid steel framing.

directorblue said...

As an aside, no one's celebrating a tragic death.

I'm calling it out because it perfectly illustrates the idiocy of an out-of-control, authoritarian federal government that creates outrageous regulations that inevitably backfire.

Violating the Constitution, they have destroyed Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the "War on Poverty" and, in the process, saddled us with monstrous deficits that can never be repaid.

I don't want my kids riding on motorcycles or in SmartCars. Period.

I don't want the government telling us what to drive, what kinds of toilets we have to use, regulating our light bulbs and how much CO2 we exhale.

The Constitution was written to set the limits on a federal -- not national -- government. It's time we listened to the founders of this country and rejected the Statists who fail at everything they do.

Anonymous said...

Well "the government" didn't tell me to buy a Smart Car, I decided on my own what car was best for me and I purchased it.

What blows me away is the car bigots out there who make such comments like, "Dumb Car" or "Death Trap".

Here's some simple questions for those who feed the need to trash a person's choice of a Smart Car:

Why the (bleep) should you even care what car I CHOSE to drive?

How does this hurt you?

Is your position in life so low, that you have to pretend that other people's choices are SO wrong, thus making you SO right?

Why don't you believe in Freedom Of Choice and live & let live?

Why are you so narrow minded?

Anonymous said...

to say that CAFE standards have caused 2000 deaths because 2000 people have died driving smaller, gas-efficient cars would be like saying "X (probably over 2000) amount of people have died in SUV's over the last year--Capitalism is killing us one-by-one". That, of course, would be a totally ridiculous statement based on a very dodgey linking of stats. There have been small cars before CAFE, and they aren't necessarily more dangerous than large cars. I think today's Phoenix crash makes a whopping 3 fatalities in smart fortwos in the US since 2008. Against the number of smarts sold, that is about the same percentage as most other models, ranging from Miatas to Excursions. Each car has its own disadvantages in safety. A GMC Envoy may do better than a smart in a head-on collison. However, the smart will actually outperform it in an identical T-Bone impact (which you are more likely to be in). Finally, think long-term. If there are more small cars, there is more advanced development in safety and crash-avoidance technology that needs to be more effective. This tech will no doubt make its way to larger cars and SUV's too, and save lives.

And for those who think that for some reason smarts are for "commies" . . . I bought mine because I liked it had the choice, and that choice is the result of a free market. If Communism ruled, everyone would be driving around in cars based on the same, lightly re-badged, heavy, cheap-to-build, utilitarian truck platform . . . oh, many people already do! :P

Anonymous said...

How dare any of you talk about this accident in such a terrible and insensitive manner! Zane (the driver of the Smart car) was greatly loved and has a 2 year old daughter and a wife that are now alone. Because of the actions of the driver in the Camry Zane was tragically killed. I hope those of you that posted these mean comments have to deal with a tragic loss and then have some dumb fuck post a nasty comment. Fuck you.

Anonymous said...

I don't get why the Smart Car is such an insult to "American Sensibilities" Those sensibilities include a free market system which guarantees, among many other things, you can buy and drive whatever you want. No one is forcing you to drive a Smart Car. No one is forcing the Smart Car driver to drive a Chevrolet Suburban. Why don't cars like the Toyota MR-2 or the Mazda MX-5 create this level of animosity?

Let people make their decisions based on what they want to and can afford to drive.

One thing I'll add to this however . . . If you're linking your automobile purchase affordability to the low purchase price of gasoline . . . Please think about what happens when the prices fluctuate which happens for a variety of reasons. Buy a vehicle that you can realistically complete your commute and errands in with gas prices topping $5/gallon or more. Unless you can afford to buy your gasoline in bulk while it's cheap and store it on your property you're at the mercy of your supplier.

That said, respect other people's decision to purchase as small of a car as they like and move on. Also, cheering about the driver of this vehicle being dead. This is an accident situation (Head on at 70+ mph in both directions) I wouldn't expect to survive in my Honda Accord, a Chevy Malibu or a Ford Explorer. I certainly wouldn't be cheering if the driver of a Ford Excursion died in a car accident. Have some respect.