Question about a Proposed Rule Change for 2011

Hey, Dorothy, the Straw Man just arrived.

Your core argument would be a lot stronger if this was a newly-invented safety device that was at risk of being imposed on the group at large with nothing more than the manufacturer's say-so on why using it is safer than not.
How are you being dictated to? Is this not up for a vote?

Regardless, the core argument in Rick's most recent post appeared to be that he's opposed to being told to blindly accept something the efficacy of which other people seem to think he's too stupid to understand and with no real reason to do so.
Ha-ha, I kinda wondered about that. :) In any event, I know I'm not going to convince anyone of my position and vice versa, so I'm really just sh*t-stirring at this point. I'll stop now, too.
Wasn't really my point at all, but perhaps I wasn't clear enough.

We have theoretical data that says under certain kinds of loads a head and neck restraint system will result in a happier outcome for the driver. If we were all racing rocket sleds into concrete walls I would definitely vote to mandate that everyone have one before buckling in. This does not suggest that I don't believe in the data - quite the contrary. It's just that you can create those conditions in a lab every time and we don't seem to be replicating those loads in Conference.

We have thousands of hours of real world data that tells us conclusively that through luck, design or skill our member drivers extremely rarely if ever are subjected to those forces or we would all remember the results.

I equate this to the possibility of a stray rifle bullet coming through the window of my racecar and striking me in the chest. I could reduce my risk of injury or death if I wore a kevlar vest while racing. I've decided that the chance of being struck by a stray bullet is small enough that I forgo the cost and discomfort of wearing a bulletproof vest. After all, I cannot remember seeing ANYONE locally struck by a bullet while racing. There - I've made a decision about my own potential safety and I am prepared to accept the concequences that go along with it.

Similarly, I feel that the current car I race generates much higher speeds leading to the potential for much higher levels of deceleration than the car I raced before. I still believe that it is unlikely that I will experience the type and level of forces that will require a head and neck restraint device, but I have elevated my risk slighly. Because of this, I decided to buy a HANS and wear it for my own personal reasons. I really had to examine whether this enhanced "peace of mind" made sense by assessing potential harm as opposed to cost. The HANS was only the beginning - mine proved to be pretty uncomfortable and somewhat incompatible with my seat and seating position, along with complicating getting in and out of the car. As a result I will be getting a completely different seat, modifying my seating position, moving some switches to get them back within reach, and of course replacing my seatbelts due to LAST years safety mandated rule change. Which the drivers voted against. And the E-board passed anyway. That adds up to quite a bit more than the cost of a HANS device, which is money that comes out of my racing budget and ultimately reduces the actual racing I get to do.

Which is the crux of my argument - I can't even put myself in a position to risk my safety if I can't afford to race in the first place. I'm lucky enough to be able to absorb costs like these if I have to, although that status could change if the economy continues to tank. I made a decision to wear a HANS based on my personal preferences. Unless this rule change is a direct response to proven need in the form of an injury or injuries that I don't know about then it is based on the conjecture that such a thing MIGHT happen in the future. That is not strong enough evidence for me to interfere with OTHERS personal choices. I count many of you as friends and a whole bunch more as at least friendly acquaintances - believe me when I say that I absolutely do not want anything bad happening to you in a racecar. I think you should take whatever steps you deem neccissary to feel comfortable and relatively safe up to and including not racing any more if it feels too risky for you, your family, amd your obligations.

As for me - I feel that the small risk of driving a racecar is more than offset by what it brings to my life; friends, excitement, competition, camraderie, the thrill of being alive. I'm just asking that we think long and hard before we decide others shouldn't be allowed to feel those things because we pushed racing out of their financial grasp with expensive safety requirements that MIGHT add pretty small margins of safety. Eliminating those people could potentially end your racing as well, because it's a game of numbers. If few enough people can afford to race, then the economics will dictate that nobody races because we won't generate enough revenue to rent tracks and pay insurance any more.

Straw man .... bah, quit baiting me Adams. My core arguement is plenty strong. Make decisions for yourself and don't believe that you have to impose them on other free thinking citizens unless it is absolutely unavoidable. This is avoidable.

You were a lot more fun when you raced more ..... ;-) Hang in there bud, good to see you out for the last IRDC race.
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Steve, I don't doubt your belief, and I certainly don't question your conviction on this point. The truth is, unless you are carrying advanced accelerometers like the Indy cars used to, you don't actually know whether you would have had any different outcome without it or what the outcome would have been.

Frankly. I am glad you were wearing it just in case. It could have provided you valuable service or it could have been as helpful as whistling past the graveyard - it's impossible to know but comforting to know you covered yourself just in case. Nearly everyone who has been wearing one in an accident feels that it aided them. Unfortunately, it is extremely likely that some or all of those would have had similar outcomes without wearing one based on thousands of crashes happening under similar circumstances experienced by those before head and neck restraints and those who have chosen not to wear them since their introduction.

I will freely admit that racing is safer than it used to be. The tracks are safer. The cars are safer. The gear is safer. All of those are also moving forward steadily. THat is to varying degrees a good thing. I'm not anti-safety. There is always a reasonable level to require - it's just getting everyone to agree where. I'm stating my opinion which I hope helps others refine their thoughts and you are doing the same with your somewhat contrasting opinions. I trust that each driver will make his own mind up on how he or she feels about it because they don't need to be told how to think.

Not picking on you Steve because I respect your thought processes and your opinion, but this is the quote that sums it up for me:

"I'm a big believer in personal choice and its attendant personal responsibility, but there's just no good reason NOT to wear some sort of head-and-neck system, not anymore."

No good reason that appeals to YOU, so you made your personal choice. Several good reasons that appeal to ME, so I made my personal choice. Everyone else needs to decide which reasons are good enough for THEM, if any, and be entitled to personal choice not dictated by either you OR me.

I've raved enough - thanks for everyone's opinions, I'll close out my oversharing as well. I am impressed by how civilized the discussion was - pretty dang respectful which is to be admired. Nobody even got called a Nazi!!!
No good reason that appeals to YOU, so you made your personal choice.

Well... I don't think "there's no proof that this longstanding and proven safety item is needed in our organization" (without any proof that it ISN'T needed, either) and "nobody's gonna tell ME how to spend my money" are good reasons, no.

FWIW, the neurologist I spoke to after my little shunt, when told all the details of what happened, also agrees that my HANS most likely saved me from serious injury. Doesn't prove anything, of course.

Anyway, let's change the suggested rule to be more generic about head-and-neck protection systems and vote away!
There is also a good article in the March 2009 SSCA magazine comparing the 4 major HNR devices that meet the SFI rating standards. Don't have the link but I ran across it the other day and it was well written and un-biased towards any particular brand.
HANS are safe( or the various other makes/models). I got that.

I should wear one or I'm gonna die... OK, got that too.

If I don't have one I am being irresponsible and causing other drivers to question the worthiness of my race car.... OK I got that one also.

I will buy one.

I will wear one.

I believe they are safe.

Got all that. Just don't force me to buy one. Let ME choose what is good, or right for ME. No one should be able to do that for anyone else. Doing so gets my Okie attitude going.

My motto is "I keep my blood inside my body"
The DefNder is SFI 38.1 approved and can be had for $549 including shipping.
It includes quick release, sliding tethers and lateral restraints for one price.
It has an adjustment so it fits all angles. It also has a width adjustment.
When I bought it I also got a $25 gift certificate, which lowered the price even more.
After one practice I was used to it. There is very little restriction to head movement -- within reason.
If you have to move your head during a race more than this thing allows,
then you might have other issues (crappy mirrors?).

Hopefully the competition will force a more realistic price on the other Hans.

I bought this for my own safety, since even an impact as low as 45 mph can be very dangerous.
Over the years various safety measures have made their way into the rule books.
At $1000 the Hans was a tough sell. At $525 (if you find that discount), not so much.
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HANS are safe( or the various other makes/models). I got that.

I should wear one or I'm gonna die... OK, got that too.

If I don't have one I am being irresponsible and causing other drivers to question the worthiness of my race car.... OK I got that one also.

I will buy one.

I will wear one.

I believe they are safe.

Got all that. Just don't force me to buy one. Let ME choose what is good, or right for ME. No one should be able to do that for anyone else. Doing so gets my Okie attitude going.

My motto is "I keep my blood inside my body"

Lawyers... Without Lawyers we wouldn't need... lawyers.

What impact on our conference would a racing related death have? Would that jeopardize the conference as a whole? If the sanctioning body has determined that the risk of a racing related death is too great and places the existence of the sanctioning body at risk I would expect them to make it mandatory. If this risk is actually a reality to conference (which I have no confirmation on) and they've still given us a chance to vote on it, then we as participating members of conference would be rather silly not impose something this critical upon ourselves.

I feel that conference has a right to make it mandatory from a CYA standpoint, and I would support an authoritative action in this specific regard. However, it is my understanding that conference relies on their members to make the right choices and the right decisions for their members and conference as a whole. The right decision, of course being that we should vote to make Head/Neck restraints mandatory.

I forget the name of the gentleman that wrecked his Porsche at Spokane but lets *assume* he wasn't wearing a HANS during that (which he was). If he had made the *choice* not to own a HANS would he have wished that maybe conference has made them mandatory?

I know that when I wrecked my first race car I wasn't wearing a HANS. If I had bitched or moaned about a rule that made them mandatory, I would have ceased those complaints after that wreck, that's for sure.

I gotta say, for the good of Conference as a whole, in this age of litigation, I don't think Conference can risk giving anyone the freedom to choose in this specific regard. The benefits of Head and Neck restraints are proven and undeniable.
How many IF's can we add to our rule book? Answer that and then design and produce those safety devices and make it mandatory and retire a rich person because you just created your own forced market. Take the insurance and lawyers stance and plan to sue anyone NOT using one of those devices.

OK, so next will be side curtain on the inside of the car, maybe arm restraint's for everyone, maybe designing a crush zone into every car, maybe maybe maybe.

I do not argue at all that there are good reasons for owning and wearing one. I will. I promise. I already promised the wife too. As soon as my poor little budget allows for it.

CYA? Interesting notion. How strenuous is our Tech before each race? I know of one racer who had cord showing through their tire at the end of a race. Is THAT safe? Should we do a tread-depth on each car before each session?

What I am saying is that it is not necessary to impose a mandatory safety device when there is a general movement to using them anyway. Given time I believe we all will use them. Why add it now.

Wes had the best idea. Table it, discuss it more, vote on it again next year. But this year don't FORCE it.
Bottom line-- Given the choice of safety, or finances take a close look at who's.

Do you suppose that ignoring this issue might severely weaken ICSCC's position in any negotiations with those "insurance powers that be" (K&K, or whomever) when attempting to keep their 'assumed' liability costs of insurance down?

Insurance, in any industry, goes up when the underwriting insuror feels that an organization is ignoring recognized 'risk management' techniques, processes, or tools.

Hey guess what? ICSCC passes that cost to the member clubs. But everybody know that.

So then, will the cost to those member clubs be passed down to those individuals that seek to participate in their 'sanctioned' event with raised entries fees.

Pay now or pay later.

All according to the perspective of personal freedom of choice.

Survival is what we are ultimately talking about. Yours, and the Conference's.

E 103. The Conference shall reserve the right to authorize and supervise
automotive competitions and tests of any kind; to make and construe rules
and to render decisions concerning them; to grant, refuse or withdraw
licenses, sanctions and approvals; to assign and cancel dates for
competitions; to appoint and rescind the appointment of officials; to impose
and remove penalties for violations of these regulations; to establish rules
for its own procedure; to do any and all things which, in its judgement, are
conducive to the well-being of automotive competitions in its area of

It's not a personal choice at this point. It's a cumulative choice. It may not, by some, be considered as necessary for the good of the individual, but who would argue that it isn't for the good of all of those individuals present, and future that ICSCC has these regulations... Nay... this obligations.

Make some lemonade.


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Not a personal choice huh? Well, I guess I will just move to a Socialistic system, oh, wait, they have that. Its called SCCA. I would be that person agueing that forcing what is essentially the removal of our individual choices on us. And how is it an obligation?
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A fair bit means more than a couple months Steve, in my opinion of course. You will usually find the majority going along with new ideas whether it be Conference or any other organization. In my opinion that happens due to a lack of knowledge and/or lack of interest in the matter at hand. So people vote with the majority and more often than not don't have much of a clue what they're voting for in the first place. In Conference we have a few voting for the whole, which makes it that much easier to pass them through, so I will be voting NO on this for sure. If it is well thought out, discussed and written properly then it will pass, but it should be removed from the docket this year - in my opinion of course.