2008 Pontiac G6 airbags didn’t deploy in accident

We still have one in NH…And there’s one in MA on the Cape.

When kids were younger we loved going to the Milford Drive-in. Over an hour drive there, but it was fun. Not the best Sound quality and visually was no where near any indoor theatre…but it was still fun

I’m sure they have a good estimate, but the number 44,869 infers an absurd level of precision which I don’t believe exists.


There’s a margin of error…but I suspect that number is very low…+ or - 2%.

My wife was one of the 44,869 or so lives saved. Her Jeep Grand Cherokee hit a patch of fine gravel on a curve at 55mph and slid into a tree then the front tire lodged in a concrete culvert and flipped on it’s top. The Jeep was destroyed but she survived with just a broken right arm and some glass in her face. The owner of the driveway had just put down gravel but failed to clean up the road. He had purchased the wrong size gravel, too small, and his insurance paid the claim. This happened in 2008. I looked at the cabin space that remained and it was no larger than a couple of bread boxes. She had to be cut out and most of the rescuers gave her little hope for survival. She is fine now but it was the worst scare of my life. Seat belts and air bags do save lives. My wife is living proof.

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2% of 44,869 is 897.38 so the answer could be anywhere from 43,972 to 45,776.

If a large number of students took a 100 question true and false test and answered it purely by guessing, what percentage of the class would get exactly 1/2 of the answers correct?

It’s the same situation if the car damage indicates a 50% probability of the accident killing the occupant of the car.

And your point is?

Just grabbing numbers and alt-facts from thin air again?

My college professors would have downgraded my answer if I gave a result more precise than any of the input variables.

Is binomial distribution an “alt-fact”?
Also, the answer to that hypothetical situation of the probability of a large number of students getting exactly 50 true false questions in a 100 question test correct simply by guessing is 7.959%

And this has to do with WHAT?

They claim lives saved but no one can say for sure if someone “would have died”. It’s a guess. To add to the issue, no two accidents are the same. Too many variables involved. Sometimes, the probability is high but still not definitive…

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It’s a guess…but it’s an extremely educated guess based on solid proven mathematical models. These use the models to make accurate predictions which is very close to reality. There are a lot of variables…but they also gather a lot of data. When I was a software consultant to the insurance industry - they had terabytes of accident data…growing gigabytes every year. I’ve seen the raw data they collect. There are THOUSANDS of variables they collect. Back then there wasn’t the compute power to do a proper analysis. But now there is.

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That doesn’t make any sense to me. You can’t go back and change the result of any one particular accident. So there is no verification/validation of cause. Once airbags came on scene, lots of other things changed along with them. You can’t separate them now. You can’t go back and say, if that had happened before airbags, that person would have died. Anybody can make data show what they are biased to show. Doesn’t make it accurate…

That’s true…but they can make predictions of future accidents and predict the outcome. They do this all the time. The model is given set of parameters for a given accident and predict if there were survivors or not.

This type of analysis is standard in computer modeling practices. Try and predict what the outcome will be. If the model can’t predict accurately then you adjust the model or get more data. This is repeated over and over again as more data is gathered.

I’m quite familiar with modeling. The problem is, when you can’t verify the outcome. In engineering, I can set up empirical tests that will have either result and then validate the model. In automobile fatalities, you only get the one result. Not sure anyone will volunteer to sit through a verification phase test :wink:

At any rate, I only have two points;

  1. The modeling gets you a better guess but it’s still a guess.
  2. The model is faulty in that you can’t separate out what contributed to saving a life. Was it the seat belt AND air bag, the collapsible steering wheel column, the energy absorbing design of the sheet metal, age and health of the victims, a combination of all of the above, circumstances of the collision or just dumb luck? Saying air bags saved X lives is nearly impossible to validate.

You know the old saying- all models are wrong, but some are useful.

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Amen. I’m surprised they didn’t add a decimal!

You make FUTURE predictions based on the model and then compare it to FUTURE data and see if the outcome is the same. That’s how you verify how accurate the model is.

You have a working model. The model is based on MILLIONS previous crashes.

A crash occurs. You put all the data in the model…and the model tells you if a person died or not. You then compare the Model prediction to what really happened. This is repeated for (1000 accidents). If the model accurately predicted what really happened 950 times then you have a 95% accuracy rate.

This is done all the time in real world modeling. I’ve done it.

Now that you have the data and know the accuracy of the Model you can make some very accurate predictions. This is done in science all the time. Companies have been relying on this approach for decades. And it’s been proven accurate over and over again.


You’re losing focus on the argument. The question is if you can say the AIRBAG was responsible for saving a life.

And, of course, the government has no reason to inflate (!!!) the effectiveness of airbags…


No I’m not. I’m saying that using the mathematical model, they determined that there were x-number of lives saved because of airbag use. It’s a probability assumption based on real world data.

The govt does have some pretty good statisticians working for them and they also hire some good ($$$) consultants. They are also a bureaucracy. At my work we did a lot of work for the military, not a big time contractor but had a fair amount of work. We would get letters from them on and off with our quality and delivery rating, we were usually 95% or higher. We once got a letter saying our quality was 100% and delivery was 100% and that they would begin a program with us to make necessary improvements. We posted that letter. Never heard back from them on that one.

Getting back to air bags, we can argue that the real number of lives saved is 20,000 or 60,000, does not matter much to me, everyone saved is a bonus. Between seat belts and air bags ( and aggressive dui enforcement) a lot of lives have been saved. Cherish each one.

Well, explain to me how you look back or forward on real world accident data and single out ONE aspect of the car that is responsible for the outcome. You can’t. Because you can’t go back and remove the airbag and check the exact same circumstances and outcome without it. And, there are many safety features that came along before and after air bags became ubiquitous that are probably just as much a contributing factor as the presence of the air bag.