First Clarence M. Ditlow III Safety Champion Award presented to Laura Gipe Christian

When I was in Washington, DC, last week, I was inspired when I attended an evening Tribute to Clarence Ditlow at the Carnegie Institute. I  never met him but did exchange some emails with him; he was very helpful in sharing information with me related to truck underride guards.

Many people spoke that night about the amazing commitment he had to tirelessly address auto safety defects. Today, an award was given in his honor to Laura Gipe Christian, whom I met when we served on a panel at the Ralph Nader Breaking Through Power Conference last fall:

A woman who lobbied for safety reforms after her daughter died in the crash of a Chevrolet Cobalt with the ignition-switch defect is being honored with the first Clarence M. Ditlow III Safety Champion Award.

“Laura Christian exemplifies the stalwart commitment to consumer protection and vehicle safety that characterized Clarence’s life,” said Joan Claybrook, the co-chair of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, which announced the award this morning.

Ditlow, who died in November, was the executive director of The Center for Auto Safety for four decades. He served on the Advocates’ board of directors for 27 years.

He was generally regarded as the nation’s foremost advocate and expert on automotive safety, consumer rights and the workings of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

 Ms. Christian was selected for “her dedication and determination to advance reforms that address the dangerous risks posed by vehicle safety defects and unrepaired recalls,” according to Advocates.

Thank you, Laura, for your work to make us all safer.

Thank you 3

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