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letters | a snowstorm to remember

Carbon monoxide detectors could be life-savers in cars

RE “2 car deaths tied to carbon monoxide” (Metro, Feb. 10): The deaths in Boston of a man and a boy who were keeping warm in their cars and were overcome by carbon monoxide because of snow plugging the exhaust pipe were not only tragic; they were also unnecessary. They could have been prevented if all automobiles were equipped with carbon monoxide detectors.

As we know from the experience in our homes, these monitors are inexpensive, sensitive, and reliable. The Consumer Product Safety Commission should require automobile manufacturers to install in all cars carbon monoxide monitors connected to a warning buzzer that shuts the engine off if the operator doesn’t respond within 15 seconds.

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One of the major lessons in health care safety is that the way to prevent accidental injuries is not by urging people to be more careful, but by changing the systems to make errors impossible. This approach would be far more effective than the most extensive warning or education campaign.

Dr. Lucian Leape

Cambridge

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