Two groups that say fear of airport security body scanners forces some would-be fliers to risk driving instead, have challenged their use by the Transportation Security Administration.
Filing suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District on Monday, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and the Rutherford Institute said “because car travel is much riskier than air travel, the net result could be an increase in overall travel fatalities.”
The lawsuit stops short of calling for removal of all 789 full-body scanners now in use in 156 airports, but demands that the TSA take into account the higher risk of driving for those too frightened to endure the machines. The TSA published a new rule for full-body scanner use last month.
“Yes, we do want these machines ultimately out,” said Marc Scribner, a research fellow at the CEI. “We don’t believe they are cost effective. We could put these security funds to much better use.”
The lawsuit comes at a time when the TSA thought it had resolved past controversy over the use of airport body scanners. The matter rose to a cause célèbre, complete with Capitol Hill hearings at which members of Congress voiced outrage in 2010 when some people complained that a new generation of scanners revealed too much of their physical appearance. Though nearly two-thirds of American’s polled were okay with their use, those who weren’t were vocal with their concern.