COTD: A little perspective edition

So a bunch of safety nazis have their panties in a twist because one Volt caught fire after sitting outdoors for three weeks after an NHTSA crash test compromised its lithium ion batteries. Really? I'm only 30 and I can remember a time when auto safety was more of a nice idea than it was a reality. My first car, a 1969 Morris Minor, had shoddy seatbelts bolted into it, judging by the rust on the bolts, sometime in the 1980s. The seats rotated forward on paper-thin hinges. Side impact protection? I could probably have kicked through one of the doors. Fires? Well I did some of the wiring myself, so you figure the consequences... Wiring mostly involves cutting stuff with a knife, right?

In Are electric cars safe? commenter Farnapple arrives to provide us with some much needed perspective:

What sissies we have become, back in the '70's there wasn't a week would go by without seeing a burning vw bug or van by the side of the freeway. Poor design (press fit fuel line wrapping around the distributor leads over a hot air cooled engine), poor maintenance (weed, hippies and college kids, need I say more) and later the change in fuel to contain a solvent for the rubber parts in the fuel system (alcohol). There aren't enough Volts on the road to equal a good month of burning fuherwagens.

And he's right. There was a time when a single vehicle going up in flames weeks after a crash test would have been a feat of unachievable, unbelievable, sensational safety. Many of us grew up driving or being driven in shitty old cars that weren't so much unsafe as they were just plain dangerous. We're still here.