Originally Posted by ohmy
You could make this argument about all safety laws. Seatbelts are a major inconvenience and you may never "need" one. People "get away" with drunk driving everyday but that does not mean you ought to do it.
Open splices are dangerous and lead to fires but not every splice will lead to a fire. Just like not every drunk driver will cause a fire.
All building codes step on homeowners' rights as free individuals, but that is a discussion for the political forums
I'm making a slightly different argument, and it's for the ratio of marginal safety gained vs. price paid, and the lack of incentives for Code Panels to even consider this calculation.
With a circuit breaker that costs $10 you may get $10 worth of safety. Probably the same with GFCIs although before they came along people probably weren't dropping like flies. With both there is a moral hazard, in that people who know there is a backup will be less careful.
With AFCIs, an arc is supposed to be not a gas, liquid or solid but a fourth state of matter which is 'plasma'.
I doubt this will ever be properly characterized, let alone capable of being detected with a reasonably low rate of false positives.
I asked NIST about a standard for 'arcs', if they have a 'calibrated arc', and so far they have not replied.
With seatbelts you get other injuries but almost certainly the mortality rate is reduced. Same with airbags, you may get deafened or be burned by sodium azide.
It may be a discussion for Game Theory forums, but once politics is involved the whole thing gets subverted/perverted.
You ever heard of Stevia? Because it occurs naturally it cannot be patented. Some politicians are screaming "Restraint of free trade".