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Friday, November 21, 1997


By Mac McKinnon

Air bag switches become legal

Controversy continues to swirl over air bags in cars. Now, the government has given approval to install a switch to disengage air bags on the passenger side.

Part of this controversy is due to deaths that have occurred to passengers, particularly children and older people. Some car makers have even slowed down the speed with which the air bags come out so it won't cause such a sudden impact with the passenger.

Of course, this switch will cost extra, slightly more than $100, on top of the money consumers are already paying to have an air bag in the car. Although many people have been saved from serious injuries by air bags, particularly on the driver's side, one death caused by air bags is one too many. This is another case of the federal government intruding into our lives, forcing us to buy something even if we don't want it.

I understand - and I'm not sure about this - that this air bag idea was the brainchild of Lee Ioacca, former head of, and the man who saved, Chrysler Corporation.

Let me note that if you don't have the bag switched off properly, then your car can't pass inspection, at least that's what I've been told. In other words, you simply can't unhook it if you know how and that can be dangerous if you don't know how.

I've heard about the damage an air bag can to do passengers and I've recently encounted a personal experience along those lines. My wife's grandmother (Ruby McGhee) was riding in a car along with my mother-in-law (Betty Faulkner) when a car turned across the lane in front of them. My mother-in-law, who was driving about 55, was unable to stop as this happened real quick. My wife's grandmother, who is 82, didn't have her seat belt on and when the air bag deployed, it seriously injured her with injuries of the face and head. She also had leg injuries.

My mother-in-law was wearing her seat belt and only suffered minor bruises from the driver's side air bag (I'm sure those injuries weren't minor to her).
Of course, the passenger's side air bag is much larger than the driver's side because it is built to compensate for two passengers.

My wife's grandmother was in intensive care for about two weeks, underwent three surgeries, was in the critical care unit for several weeks and is now in rehab although she still has her jaws wired shut due to the broken jaw surgery. We don't know if she'll be all right but she is doing incredibly well considering the injuries she endured at her age.

This accident happened in Llano County and my wife's grandmother was airflighted to Brackenridge Hospital in Austin. That happened in mid-October.
Also in intensive care with her were other patients who suffered air bag injuries. And the nurses there made note of how common air bag injuries are.
We'll never know just how bad the injuries could have been without the air bag. Some say one set of injuries are substituted for other types of injuries. My wife's grandmother probably would have been killed had it not been for the air bag. In the meantime, she has suffered a great deal, or it appears to us that she has.

Several people I know declare that their lives have been saved because of air bags. They have come out of bad accidents with only a few bruises. It would appear that my mother-in-law would have been seriously injured had it not been for the air bag.

Please be aware if you have air bags in your car. Seat belts definitely need to be worn.

Mac McKinnon is the Editor and Publisher of the Pecos Enterprise whose column appears each Friday. he can be e-mailed at:

Your View

Tra-Park employees say goodye to Pecos

To The Editor:

The Managers and Assistant Managers at Trapark RV Park would like to say goodbye to the town of Pecos. Our four month tour is over and new managers and assistants will take over on Dec. 1, 1997. The town has welcomed us and made us feel right at home. The four of us have used your Dr., Dentist, Hospital, Podiatrist, Drug Store, Walmart, Gas Stations, Hardware, Restaurants, Fast Foods, Tamale Factory, Barber Shop, Beauty Salons, Tire Shop, Auto Shops, Banks and many more. Your Museum and Chamber of Commerce have been very helpful to us.

We have enjoyed your Pecos Enterprise. It's nice to see a newspaper that devotes so much to the kids in school.

We are part of a group called Escapees. The Escapees travel in their rigs from place to place. So often when a traveler comes in we hear, "Did I just see a Zebra?" Of course we tell them about your zoo and that if they look hard they will see a bear in there.

Our park has used many of your facilities. When, in the end of July, that little West Texas wind blew in and took all our poles down the fire department, telephone company, cable company and electric company were all here to get us all together again. The city utilities are always out right away when we call. We keep one of your plumbers pretty busy also.

You have a nice friendly town. We hope the new managers and assistants will enjoy it as much as we have.

Pat and Ron Loen, Managers
Ralph and Claire Myrick, Assistants

Our View

Moore leaves department in excellent shape

Pecos Police Chief Troy Moore has announced he will be retiring at the end of January, unless the city cannot find a suitable replacement in which case he will stay around as long as he is needed.

We salute the chief for a job well done in his 10 years as head of Pecos police. He has helped build a highly professional force and one that is well trained and respected.

To be sure, we haven't always agreed with Moore but he is one of those people with whom you can disagree without being disagreeable, a reasonable person.
It will not be easy to find someone to fill his big shoes but we are confident that a number of professional law enforcement people would be eager to head up a department that is up and running in good shape.

We wish Moore the best in future endeavors.

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Pecos Enterprise
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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