Tag Archives: auto safety

An Advocate for a Safer America: Have you signed the Traffic Safety Ombudsman Petition yet?

August 3 UPDATE: The petition on the White House site is expired. Please sign our new Traffic Safety Ombudsman Petition at Care2;  http://www.thepetitionsite.com/384/321/600/end-preventable-crash-fatalities-appoint-a-national-traffic-safety-ombudsman/

We are asking for 100,000 Americans to sign our new Traffic Safety Ombudsman petition on WhiteHouse petition site. Once we get 150 signatures, it will become searchable on their website.

If we are able to get 100,000 signatures in 30 days — by July 31, then the White House has promised that they will respond to our new petition, which calls on President Obama to appoint a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman, who will be an Advocate for Safer Roads.

Why on earth am I asking for another government-funded worker — a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman? And whatever would that person do anyway? Read more here:

SIGN  & SHARE the TRAFFIC SAFETY OMBUDSMAN Petition:  https://wh.gov/i6kUj

PLEASE NOTE: If you sign the petition, be sure to go to your email. We the People will send you an email which will say this in the subject line:  “Almost done! Verify your Petitions.WhiteHouse.gov account.” Follow the instructions to verify your signature.





Last December 8, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced plans for a major upgrade to its 5-Star Safety Ratings new car assessment program, effective for vehicles manufactured after January 1, 2019. A major driver behind this announcement has been the heavy criticism from the US Congress following the failure of NHTSA to remedy the GM ignition and Takata airbag defect before they resulted in the deaths of 133 people.

NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind took up his post in December 2014 and quickly found himself playing defense against an assault of accusations, especially following the release of the NHTSA Inspector General’s report detailing shortcomings in the agency’s Office of Defects Investigations. In an effort to get ahead of this criticism, Rosekind has moved aggressively to assuage congressional concerns. . .

. . . the new NCAP would incorporate a number of collision avoidance technologies into the five-star rating (rather than listed as recommendations) described as: (1) forward collision warning, (2) crash imminent braking, (3) dynamic brake support, (4) lower beam headlight performance, (5) semi-automatic headlamp beam switching, (6) amber rear turn signal lamps, (7) lane departure warning, (8) rollover resistance, and (9) blind spot detection. NHTSA also plans to include pedestrian collision avoidance and rear automatic braking within its pedestrian safety rating under the NCAP.


The author mentions this possible concern with the process:

Nonetheless, rapid advances in vehicle safety technologies have challenged NHTSA capabilities, especially since the US rulemaking system requires NHTSA to clear a series of high hurdles before any new regulation can be enacted. Unable to rapidly issue changes to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), NHTSA has resorted to a voluntary agreement with automakers on automatic braking and the upgrade to its consumer information NCAP to reassure Congress that it is on the job and up to the challenge of new technologies.

Care 2 Petition Poster 008Washiington Vision Zero Petition photos 013

Save Lives Not Dollars: Urge DOT to Adopt a Vision Zero Policy

John Creamer is the founder of GlobalAutoRegs.com and a partner in The Potomac Alliance, a Washington-based international regulatory affairs consultancy. In his client advisory role, Mr. Creamer is regularly involved with meetings of the UN World Forum for the Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29). Previously, he has held positions with the US International Trade Commission and the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (representing the US automotive supplier industry), as the representative of the US auto parts industry in Japan, and with TRW Inc. (a leading global automotive safety systems supplier).



As Ralph Nader is inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame, are cars “still unsafe at any speed”?

Lou Lombardo reports on Ralph Nader’s upcoming induction into the Automotive Hall of Fame in Detroit. He raises important questions about whether more needs to be done to reduce the ongoing traffic safety problems. . .

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:



Last year, Clarence Ditlow reported the achievements since publication of Unsafe at Any Speed to include the saving of an estimated 3.5 million lives (many millions more Americans were saved from suffering serious injuries).  See


Today according to Corporate Crime Reporter:

“Auto safety advocate Ralph Nader will be inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame next month at the Cobo Center in Detroit Michigan.”

More Needed

Currently every average day nearly 100 people in America die from vehicle violence.

Every average day nearly 400 people in America suffer serious injuries from vehicle violence.

Every average day nearly $2 Billion in losses result from vehicle violence in America.

See http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812013.pdf

One need addressed by Law Professor Rena Steinzor is in an article last year in the Harvard Law & Policy Review titled

(Still) “Unsafe at Any Speed”:
Why Not Jail for Auto Executives?
National Vision Zero Goal
Crash Deaths

Last night, Pres. Obama referred in the past tense to crash fatalities as a public health problem.

Apparently, President Obama is okay with the current state of traffic fatalities. Anyway it sounds as if he thinks that we have already done all we can to reduce crash deaths.

At least that is what it sounds like to me from last night’s PBS News Hour video of President Obama speaking at a Town Hall (June 2, 2016):

“We used to have really bad auto fatality rates. The auto fatality rate has actually dropped precipitously, drastically since I was a kid. Why is that? We decided we had seat belt laws. We decided to have manufacturers put air bags in place. We decided to crack down on drunk driving and texting. We decided to redesign roads so that they were less likely to have a car bank.

“We studied what is causing these fatalities using science and data and evidence. And then we slowly treated it like the public health problem it was. And it got reduced.”

See President Obama talking about this, starting at 1:57 on this video:  https://www.facebook.com/newshour/videos/10154247237078675/

Interesting. This is what I noticed about what he said:

  1. He identified auto fatalities as a public health problem.
  2. He referred to it in the past tense.
  3. He did not acknowledge that there is still a long ways to go and that there are still way too many preventable crash deaths occurring every year.
  4. He did not mention that 33,000 people — like AnnaLeah and Mary, real people, whom someone will miss — are still dying every year and that we should make it a national priority to work on them.
  5. He also did not mention that more than 2 million people are seriously injured in crashes each year.
  6. He did not take that opportunity to say let’s set a national vision zero goal and work on this together.

President Obama, are you aware that over 20,000 people have asked you to set a Vision Zero Goal and to sign a Vision Zero Executive Order. We need a Vision Zero Task Force to address specific traffic safety issues and we need Vision Zero Rulemaking policies and we need a Traffic Safety Ombudsman to over see this ongoing public health problem–in ways that are not now being done.

Could we please sit down and talk about this so we can get on the same page?


p.s. I, for one, daily face the loss of my two daughters, AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13). And I know for a fact that more could have been done — but wasn’t — to prevent their deaths.

President Obama

“Public health is about saving lives… a million at a time”.

When steps are taken to make roads safer, the impact can mean many lives saved globally.

Vision Zero is all about moving towards zero crash fatalities and serious injuries. If we would view road safety as a public health challenge, then we might begin to grasp the immensity of this problem.

As Professor Simon Chapman has quoted, “Public health is about saving lives… a million at a time”.  http://drinktank.org.au/2015/04/reflections-on-a-38-year-career-in-public-health-advocacy/

When I attempted to find the source of his quote, I stumbled upon this article by another public health expert, Dr. Arshini Daytan. I did a mental double-take when I read her quote from David Jernigan (John Hopkins) on the strategies of large corporations who actively seek to make us unhealthy:

“Associate Professor David Jernigan from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health gave the Basil Hetzel Oration and highlighted the significant influence large multinational corporations had on shaping the environment in which people make health decisions and the need for public health to understand these organisations. He proceeded to explain how these organisations, for example alcohol companies, operate to influence the debates around their products and why we need to know this in terms of public health advocacy. He went through the 10 principles outlined in the book ‘Lethal but Legal – Corporations, Consumption, and Protecting Public Health’ by Nicholas Freudenberg.

1. Make disease promoting products ubiquitous

2. Encourage retailers to promote their products

3. Supersize products

4. Target marketing to vulnerable populations

5. Price unhealthy products to promote sale and use

6. Create monopolies that reduce bargaining power of consumers and government

7. Support candidates who oppose public health policies

8. Lobby against laws that protect public health

9. Threaten to take jobs out of communities that oppose their policies

10. Organise Astroturf groups to oppose public health policies.”  http://sphpm.blogspot.com/2014/11/dr-darshini-ayton-writes-about-her.html

Okay, that made me learn about another concept/strategy: Astroturfing. What?! http://www.responsiblelending.org/media-center/center-for-straight-answers/astroturf-group-alert.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/ & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astroturfing

gertie 132

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for advances in car safety technology.

Safety technology is a matter of life and death. SAFE means: keeps people alive and free from life-altering injuries. It appears that at least some auto manufacturers are taking this seriously. This Thanks-giving, I’m thankful for that.

See what good things Honda is doing with their Honda Sensing:  http://automobiles.honda.com/safety/?from=safety.honda.com & https://www.yahoo.com/autos/honda-s-best-new-feature-1307184767189046.html

And see this from the Los Angeles Auto Show, where I am hearing good news about the trickle down effect of safety features which are moving from being high-priced extras to becoming affordable:

“Many features now ubiquitous in vehicles, such as antilock brakes, backup cameras and keyless entry, started as high-priced extras in luxury cars and trickled down to mainstream vehicles over many years. As in the case of electronic stability control, which became mandatory in 2011 — 15 years after it first appeared in the BMW 7 series — government pressure often speeds the shift.

“Yet with the latest wave of technologies, that trickle seems to be accelerating.”  http://ht.ly/V13tY

I want to see more–no ALL–safety technology become MANDATORY–not optional extras. I want to see manufacturers take the high road and do all in their power to make them AFFORDABLE for everyone. We all know that technology gets cheaper over time. But let’s not wait that long. If the auto companies have to dip into their profits to do so, so be it. It’s the right thing to do.

Anything less would border on getting away with murder.

When the future gets here, I’m okay with fancier features still being optional–like this ultra-comfortable “driver’s” seat in a driverless car:  http://europe.autonews.com/article/20151126/BLOG15/311279982/volvo-concept-26-imagines-the-interior-of-fully-autonomous-cars

But thoroughly-tested technology that prevents tragedy? That should be a no-brainer. Come on, America, we can do this! This should not be another battle in our country’s unbelievable history of unnecessary “Car Safety Wars.”

Car Safety Wars book cover

(Cover of book by Michael R. Lemov, http://tinyurl.com/ptqt3fq )

The potential casualties of such a war are scattered among us–our friends and members of our families. Ourselves. No one is untouched.

Who are no more with photo


GM Settlement: “What will it take to stop the needless deaths and injuries and produce safety and justice?” Lou Lombardo

Lou Lombardo of Care for Crash Victims sent out an update on the GM Settlement with the Justice Department.

“Mother of GM Crash Victim: Why Is Justice Dept. Allowing GM Write a Check to Get Away with Murder?”  http://www.democracynow.org/2015/9/18/mother_of_gm_crash_victim_why

USA Today Editorial

Thursday’s disappointing conclusion after months of federal investigation is simply par for the course. In the past decade, corporations have gotten away with all manner of  fraud, self-dealing, negligent manufacturing and market manipulation. The subprime mortgage industry nearly brought down the U.S. economy and ruined untold number of lives. But  to the extent there was punishment at all after these acts, it usually involved a company writing a check, as if these firms ran on automatic pilot.”

Ralph Nader spoke on the topic:  http://www.democracynow.org/2015/9/18/gm_did_the_crime_drivers_do

See more reactions to the GM Settlement:

Lou Lombardo concludes his email update this morning: “What will it take to stop the needless deaths and injuries and produce safety and justice?”

Do you want manufacturers of vehicles to be held accountable for deaths related to known safety flaws?

If a manufacturer knows that one of their products has a defect or flaw or a component which could potentially result in death or serious injury, should they be let off of the hook from being accountable for the consequences of their refusal to improve the safety of their product?

What do you think? What would you think if you were the victim (or if someone whom you knew was the victim) of such an “oversight”?

Does a cost/benefit analysis which indicates that making the change would be “too costly” (i.e., costs “outweigh” the benefits of saved lives) excuse them from responsibility?

Read about the GM settlement over deaths due to installation of defective ignition switches:

“‘GM killed over a 100 people by knowingly putting a defective ignition switch into over one million vehicles,’ said Clarence Ditlow of the Center for Auto Safety. ‘Yet no one from GM went to jail or was even charged with criminal homicide. This shows a weakness in the law not a weakness in the facts.  GM killed innocent consumers. GM has paid millions of dollars to its lobbyists to keep criminal penalties out of the Vehicle Safety Act since 1966.  Today thanks to its lobbyists, GM officials walk off scot free while its customers are six feet under.’” – See more at: http://www.corporatecrimereporter.com/news/200/critics-rip-gm-deferred-prosecution-in-switch-case/#sthash.KW9gdwjA.Tc0H8H28.dpuf

Underride Research Meme

DONATE NOW: https://www.fortrucksafety.com/

“Automatic emergency braking in all new cars, a step transportation officials say could significantly reduce traffic deaths and injuries.”

“Ten automakers have committed to the government [NHTSA] and a private safety group [IIHS] that they will include automatic emergency braking in all new cars, a step transportation officials say could significantly reduce traffic deaths and injuries.”

But I am glad to see that those “watchdogs” plan on pursuing regulations for that technology.  http://tinyurl.com/oc4cqy2

What do safety ratings really mean? http://ht.ly/PlP4h

Michael R. Lemov in his book, Car Safety Wars, describes the impact of the passing of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and the Highway Safety Act in 1966:

“Detroit had lost its bid to prevent federal regulation of the safety of motor vehicles and highways. The companies promised to ‘live with the bill.’ But the industry continued its efforts to weaken key safety standards under the new act. It had only temporarily lost its political clout. It raised objections to the first standards issued by NHTSA in 1968 and later, to most things the safety agency proposed. Manufacturers sent their chief executives to the White House and to President Nixon. They pressed Secretaries of Transportation. They lobbied administrators of NHTSA. They argued, often successfully, to the House and Senate Appropriations committees for restrictions on the safety agency’s funding. The car safety wars did not end.

The enactment of strong federal motor vehicle and highway safety laws marked the single biggest milestone in the century-long fight for safer cars and roads. But the long struggle against death and injury on the highways was really just beginning.” p. 106

It is important for verbal commitment to safety to be followed up with regulatory provisions to ensure that it, in fact, becomes a reality.

A Twitter Conversation About Improved Auto Safety Compromised by Truck Safety Flaw  http://annaleahmary.com/tag/iihs/

Car Safety Wars book cover

A Twitter Conversation About Improved Auto Safety Compromised by Truck Safety Flaw

THANK YOU, IIHS, for your ongoing and enlightening work in road safety research!