Sunday, October 22, 2006

The law of unintended consequences strikes again

I wonder to what extend those who promoted the new Child seat law have thought through the likely consequences?

I am not against the principle of encouraging child seats: my children have always had them and always used them for the vast majority of journeys including all long or motorway journeys.

However, there are a certain number of instances where insisting on using child seats forces you to make extra journeys, use a second car, or leave someone behind. Since the law came in, it has had no effect on the majority of our journeys because we would have used a child seat anyway, but on the two exceptions, we had to make a second journey once, and choose between taking a second car, or leaving a family member behind on a local outing on the other occasion.

I suspect that a likely consequence of the new law is that there will be pressure on some families with children to get a bigger car, while others will have a greater number of car journeys as the parents have to make two round trips or take a second car. Hence any safety improvement from this law has to be offset against the probability that it will lead to more and larger vehicles on the road.

A classic case of the law of unintended consequences !

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