Confehr: There ought to be a law to require repair parts

Friday, March 4, 2011

This ought to appeal to the General Motors employees who moved here and Tennesseans who went to work in Spring Hill, and it's not about the plant's recent resurgence in motor manufacturing which we endorse, encourage, and hope that it leads to more jobs than those anticipated at another planned development that just happens to include a theme park.

It's about public safety.

Who's against that?

Last month, the Marshall County 9-1-1 Board was told it's getting harder to buy parts for emergency telephone call control boards. Turns out, the main 9-1-1 panel here is working without a back-up recording system. It's broken. Redundancy may not seem absolutely necessary. Tell a police officer's family if the system is fried by a thunderbolt when he's getting shot in the line of duty.

Not to be flippant, but it could happen.

Ask a lawyer and/or insurance company representatives who want to know what was said during a crucial time if and when police and/or fire communications are important and another power surge zaps the last link to recording 9-1-1 calls or, for that matter, the radio communications between officers and dispatchers is lost to the air waves because of static electricity.

Besides all that, then you wouldn't get to hear it "on the news" and we might not be able to figure out exactly what happened so our readers might get better insights into the chain of events.

Those are only a few of the consequences - albeit fabricated - if parts aren't readily available.

Oh, there's an explanation that when the manufacturer stopped making the machines that it sold leftover parts, but they get expensive.

The so-called aftermarket for automobile parts is good for some of the more popular 1950s cars, but there's been a law requiring manufacturers to sell parts for 10 years after a car's out of production.

In 1982, I could still get genuine GM parts for my 1972 Chevy Vega. Some Oldsmobile and Pontiac owners can, too, although a Vega grill would look silly on an Olds.

America's love affair with cars is still hot. But what about our public safety gadgets?

The end of the manufacture of some of the parts for police dispatch equipment has greater consequences.

There ought to be a law for repair parts.

If there is one, it's a good one.

If there's not, what good are they in Washington, anyway?

These views are the author's and not necessarily reflective of the Tribune's views