Tag Archives: auto defects

Scary innovations in gearshift design; who is watching over the big picture of Safe Driving?

Is there anyone really watching over the big picture of safe driving–the complex combination of driver knowledge/behavior and vehicle technology? Here is some food for thought from Care for Crash Victims’ Lou Lombardo:

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Nader’s work has resulted in the saving of an estimated 3.5 million lives over the past 50 years.

But there is still a lot to do.

Automotive News reports on Gear Shifter dangerous designs today.  See http://edit.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20160627/OEM11/306279980/are-shifters-getting-too-complicated

Consumer Reports shows us the problems today.  See



One citizen crash survivor asks a simple question of President Obama who can pick up his pen (our pen) and order NHTSA to create a Safety Ombudsman.  See

But don’t hold your breath that President Obama will hear Marianne Karth’s cry.  President Obama has his eye on the money.  See

And President Obama has long had a “Strange Indifference to Highway Carnage”.  See http://www.fairwarning.org/2012/09/a-strange-indifference-to-highway-carnage/

Gertie reaching for Mary ...Susanna's film

“The Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act is now the law of the land!”

A GOOD NEWS Report from Lou Lombardo:
June 1, 2016
Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Great news from Cally Houck:

WE WON!!! Thank you, everyone!

cally houck

Ojai, CA

Jun 1, 2016 — The Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act, named for my beautiful and talented daughters, is now the law of the land!!

Thank you to everyone who pitched in to make this happen. We still have work to do, to close the car dealers’ loaner-car loophole. But meanwhile, this is a huge victory.

To their credit, the rental car companies themselves worked with me and Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, and Dr. Rosekind, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, our champions in Congress, and other consumer groups to get the law enacted.

Good to know that we the people can change the law to protect precious lives, when enough of us speak up.

Cally Houck

The Detroit News reports:

Washington — Rental car companies are prohibited from distributing vehicles that have been recalled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration under a new federal law that took effect Wednesday.

The new law requires rental companies with fleets of more than 35 vehicles to pull recalled cars from their rotations until they are repaired.

The prohibition was included in a $305 billion highway bill that was approved by Congress last year. It was originally introduced as a bill that was named after Raechel and Jacqueline Houck, sisters who were killed in a 2004 crash in California that involved a rental car that had been recalled. Their mother, Cally Houck, lobbied Congress for years to approve the change.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said he is happy to enforce the ban now that has Congress has codified the prohibition in federal law.

“When a family picks up a rental car on vacation, they should be able to expect it is free of any known safety defect,” Foxx said in a statement. “I thank Congress and the safety advocates who helped turn this common-sense idea into law.”

The ban on recalled cars does not apply to used car dealerships, despite a push from safety advocates to also apply the prohibition to them.

Backers of the ban on rental companies distributing recalled cars said it is a major victory that the ban is taking effect today, even as they vowed to continue pushing for a wider prohibitions including the sale of recalled used cars by dealers.

“I’m thrilled that the Safe Rental Car Act named for my beautiful, treasured daughters, Raechel and Jacqueline, is now the law of the land. But I’m worried about the loaner-car loophole for car dealers and remain committed to closing that dangerous safety gap,” Cally Houck said in a statement distributed on Wednesday by the Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety group.

“If this law was in existence when my cherished, beautiful daughter Jewel rented a car, she would still be alive today,” added Alexander Brangman, whose 26-year-old daughter Jewel died in a 2014 crash while she was driving a rented 2001 Honda Civic.

Lawmakers in Washington who pushed for the inclusion of the recalled rental ban in the massive highway funding law that was approved last year also touted the implementation of the prohibition on Wednesday.

“I am so proud that the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act takes effect today so that the public can be assured that when they rent a car, it cannot be under recall,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who introduced multiple bills contain the ban before it was added to the 2015 highway bill.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., added: “This law is going to save lives, period. Families heading out for vacation or businesspeople on travel should never have to wonder if their rental car is under recall when they drive it off the lot. Thanks to this bill, the millions of people who rent cars every year will have peace of mind that rental companies can’t rent or sell cars that they know are unsafe.”

NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind agreed, saying the recalled rental ban gives his agency “one more tool to protect the safety of U.S. motorists,” although he lamented the fact that there are currently more than 900 active auto recalls.

See http://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/autos/2016/06/01/new-law-bans-rental-companies-using-recalled-cars/85246898/

For more on the history of this safety victory see the book Death by Rental Car available at


Great safety advance!

Lou Lombardo

Cover of Car Safety Wars by Michael Lemov
Cover of Car Safety Wars by Michael Lemov

Let’s Move From: “A Failure of Compassion, & Tactics of Conceal-­‐Delay-­‐Deny While Fiery Crashes Occur” to a “Vision of Zero Fatalities”

Chrysler and the Defective Design of Jeeps with Unsafe Fuel Tanks …..
A Failure of Compassion, and Tactics of Conceal-­‐Delay-­‐Deny While Fiery Crashes Occur
by Byron Bloch, Auto Safety Expert, Potomac, Maryland
www.AutoSafetyExpert.com   Byron@AutoSafetyExpert.com
Presentation at National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
NHTSA Public Hearing on July 2nd, 2015 -­‐-­‐-­‐Washington, D.C.

“From my perspective of about 50 years in the auto safety trenches, I’ve seen that NHTSA has too often been a slowly reactive agency, rather than being pro-active in analyzing vehicle design and performance in real-world accidents.

I’ve seen where automaker documents produced in product-liability court cases reveal that the company has known of the dangers and safety defects for many years, but preferred to conceal that knowledge, then delay its release, and then deny that it ever knew what the documents revealed.

The Chrysler secretly-negotiated deal with NHTSA, without any public hearing, to provide trailer hitches as a so-called recall fix to improve fuel tank protection, but only in low-speed accidents, makes a mockery of what should be done.

Look instead to what NASCAR and helicopters and military aircraft utilize for fuel tank safety, and you’ll see safety technology that could and should be utilized. But that would require compassion… and that’s not yet a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard.

Let’s together join forces to fight for safer vehicles for us all, with the vision of zero fatalities… by preventing vehicle accidents, and by more crashworthy vehicles to protect occupants when accidents occur, and by the elimination of needlessly unsafe and defective designs.

Thank you.” Byron Bloch

Preach it, brother! (Fine Print: And that includes truck underride guards! http://annaleahmary.com/2015/06/truck-underride-prevention-research-too-long-neglected-how-long-will-this-highway-carnage-continue/ )

Chrysler and Defective Design of Jeeps with Unsafe Fuel Tanks

Safety is not a priority 002

Different Version of Highway Safety Bill by Republicans and Democrats Reflect Different Vision of Public Safety Needs in Response to the Largest Vehicle Safety Recalls in History and Mounting Truck Crash Deaths and Injuries:  Safety Advocates JOINT STATEMENT 7-10-2015

Care for Crash Victims Monthly Report July 2015

Crash Fatalities by State 2013