Tag Archives: Car Safety Wars

In Memory of loved ones who died in Wars in this country, including over 3.5 million in “Car Safety Wars”

This Memorial Day, I want us to remember the countless loved ones from this country who have died in wars — including the Car Safety Wars.

Review of Car Safety Wars: One Hundred Years of Technology, Politics, and Death

From that review: “Lemov reports that more than 3.5 million Americans have been killed and more than 300 million injured in motor vehicle accidents.” “More than all the combat deaths suffered in all our wars” (President Lyndon Johnson).

Remembering AnnaLeah & Mary Karth and their grandpa, James Waldron, a Navy Seabee in WWII, at Highland View Cemetery

I’d hate to be the one to find out that GM’s Takata airbags really are defective.

GM has petitioned NHTSA for Inconsequential Non Compliance on Takata Air Bags: General Motors LLC, Receipt of Petition for Inconsequentiality and Decision Granting Request To File Out of Time and Request for Deferral of Determination as posted on the Federal Register, 11/28/2016

What does this mean?

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation.

Notice of receipt of petition and decision granting partial relief.

On May 16, 2016, TK Holdings Inc. (Takata) filed a defect information report (DIR), in which it determined that a defect existed in certain passenger-side air bag inflators that it manufactured, including passenger inflators that it supplied to General Motors, LLC (GM) for use in certain GMT900 vehicles. GM has petitioned the Agency for a decision that, because of differences in inflator design and vehicle integration, the equipment defect determined to exist by Takata is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety in the GMT900 vehicles, and that GM should therefore be relieved of its notification and remedy obligations.

The closing date for comments is September 14, 2017.

Takata Airbag Recall – Everything You Need to Know What this recall means to you and what actions you should take

I’d hate to be the one to find out that GM’s Takata airbags really are defective. Wouldn’t you?


“Power of People to Protect People” Lou Lombardo, Legal Reader

Lou Lombardo relates the story of his important work on airbags which showed that “tragic political deregulatory decisions – sometimes – can be overturned to restore life saving regulations.”

Lombardo begins  by talking about how,

The safety and happiness of the people is now suffering violence on many fronts: inequality, injustice, medical and social insecurity, failing schools, terrorism, war, homelessness, hunger, unemployment, vehicle violence, unsafe products and services, unsafe air, unsafe water, unsafe working conditions, failing infrastructure, corporatized media, policy makers and scientists for sale, insecure elections etc. Our planet is in human existential danger. . .

The American people remember President Reagan for saying in Berlin: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” I remember President Reagan’s policy to tear up the airbag regulations in Washington, DC thereby condemning many thousands of Americans to suffer preventable tragic deaths and injuries – and their terrible consequences – that will haunt us forevermore right here in the U.S.A.

Read the full story here: Power of People to Protect People, by Lou Lombardo, Legal Reader, December 27, 2016

In Lombardo’s recent email to the Care for Crash Victims Community Members, he makes these observations:

Presidential Power Failure

The record of Presidential failures to protect people dictates that we the people have to step up and use our power.

The Power of People was written as Americans approach the end of 8 years of one Administration with a tragically disappointing auto safety record with a NHTSA  estimated  251,647 deaths due to vehicle violence under President Obama from 2009 through the first six months of 2016. 

NHTSA data shows that the number of motor vehicle related deaths is accelerating and estimated to increase an additional 10% approaching an Obama legacy of 270,000 vehicle deaths.  See https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.g ov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/ 812332
Nader and Ditlow told us so.  See https://www.nytimes.com/2014/ 10/29/opinion/weak-oversight- deadly-cars.html

President Obama failed year after year to adopt a Vision Zero Goal despite petitions of the American people. The Swedish Parliament adopted Vision Zero in 1997. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vision_Zero

Powers of People – Needed Now More Than Ever

Daily losses due to vehicle violence in the U.S.A. today:

* 100 deaths

* 400 serious injuries

* $2 Billion

This is at a time when we have more technologies available to achieve an end to vehicle violence in or by new vehicles in a decade than ever before in human history.

Now as we face an incoming Administration that is talking more about the problems of regulations on business than about the problems of deaths and injuries to people, we need to begin anew conversations about what people can do to protect people.

Ralph Nader warns us of the Trump people and policies that we face. See http://www.eurasiareview.com/27122016-ralph-nader-tripwires-for-the-trumpsters-oped/

People like Lou Lombardo have been able to make a difference and save untold lives in years past. Will the Power of People to Protect People prevail in the coming months and years? That is what I would like to know.

Equal Justice For All, Legal Reader, artist Neal Angeles

Note: Lou Lombardo says of the Lady Justice Graphic – “Lady Justice, while blind folded for fairness, can still smell the stench of money and hear the pleas of millions of injured people – past, present, and future.”

Nation’s largest new auto dealer has broken its promise to stop selling used vehicles with safety defects.

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Please see Press Release from Senators who care about preventing needless deaths and injuries.

The public needs to be warned that the nation’s largest new auto dealer has broken its promise to stop selling used vehicles with safety defects.

For Immediate Release

Contact: Maria McElwain (Blumenthal)

(202) 224-6452

Giselle Barry (Markey)

(202) 224-2742

December 6, 2016



Senators Call on Auto Retailer to Fully Inform

Consumers of Broken Promise

 [WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA), authors of the Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act, issued the following statement after AutoNation, Inc. – the nation’s largest new auto retailer – announced that it is reversing its policy to stop selling cars with recalled safety defects until the defective parts are repaired.

 “AutoNation’s decision to resume the sale of deadly used cars in the wake of this presidential election is deeply troubling, and will lead to tragic consequences on our nation’s roads and highways. After reversing course on its widely-advertised pledge to not sell defective cars, AutoNation now bears the responsibility of informing consumers about its broken promise. The company now has an obligation to publicize its decision to reverse course as widely as its original move towards better safety,” the Senators said. “Unfortunately, until Congress acts to ensure there is a level playing field for used car dealers who want to do the right thing for their customers, we will continue to see cars with deadly defects on our roads. In the wake of this announcement, we plan to double down on efforts to protect consumers from the worry that they might be buying a used car with unrepaired recalls.”‎

 In 2015, Blumenthal and Markey introduced the Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act, which would require used car dealers to repair any outstanding safety recalls in used automobiles prior to selling or leasing and the Repairing Every Car to Avoid Lost Lives (RECALL) Act that would require owners of vehicles with open safety recalls to be notified and help ensure defects are repaired. The Senators have also urged auto manufacturers to take necessary action to protect consumers after defective parts are identified and recalled.


Lou Lombardo


Sen. Markey & Blumenthal: Mandatory stds not voluntary guidance needed to prevent hacked cars

The ongoing tug of war in traffic safety: mandatory standards vs voluntary guidance. . .

News from Lou Lombardo, Care for Crash Victims, on a press release from Senators Markey and Blumenthal:

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Senators Markey and Blumenthal. “If modern day cars are computers on wheels, we need mandatory standards, not voluntary guidance, to ensure that our vehicles cannot be hacked and lives and information put in danger.


 Contact: Giselle Barry (Markey) 202-224-2742

Maria McElwain (Blumenthal) 202-224-6452

 Markey, Blumenthal on New Transportation Dept. Auto Cybersecurity Guidance:  It’s A Take-Home Exam for Failing Students

 Senators have introduced legislation to protect drivers from auto security, privacy risks

 Washington (October 24, 2016) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), members of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, released the following statement today after the Department of Transportation unveiled proposed guidance for improving motor vehicle cybersecurity. In 2015, Senator Markey released the report Tracking & Hacking: Security & Privacy Gaps Put American Drivers at Risk, which detailed major gaps in how auto companies are securing connected features in cars against hackers. For example, only two of the 16 car companies had developed any capability to detect and respond to a hacking attack in real time.

 “This new cybersecurity guidance from the Department of Transportation is like giving a take-home exam on the honor code to failing students,” said Senators Markey and Blumenthal. “If modern day cars are computers on wheels, we need mandatory standards, not voluntary guidance, to ensure that our vehicles cannot be hacked and lives and information put in danger. In this new Internet of Things era, we cannot let safety, cybersecurity, and privacy be an afterthought. We must pass our legislation, the SPY Car Act, that puts the protections in place to ensure auto safety and security in the 21st century.”

 In July, the Senators introduced the Security and Privacy in Your Car (SPY Car) Act, legislation that would direct the National Highway Traffic and Safety administration and the Federal Trade Commission to establish federal standards to secure our cars and protect drivers’ privacy. The SPY Car Act also establishes a rating system — or “cyber dashboard”— that informs consumers about how well the vehicle protects drivers’ security and privacy beyond those minimum standards.

 In August, Senators Markey and Blumenthal called on the Federal Communications Commission to consider taking a number of steps to protect consumers’ safety and privacy as car manufacturers deploy vehicle-2-vehicle and vehicle-2-infrastructure technologies in their automobiles.

The NHTSA “guidelines” document (attached) as National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2016, October). Cybersecurity best practices for modern vehicles. (Report No. DOT HS 812 333). Washington, DC: Author.

When government fails to do its job setting legal standards – it is creating a lawless society – people suffer and die.

That is the tragic history of “voluntary” standards.  Just one example is the “voluntary” agreement of the 1920s allowing lead in gasoline poisoning people for decades.  See https://www.careforcrashvictims.com/assets/gettheleadout.pdf

Lou Lombardo


Casualties of the car safety wars

My grandson just turned 10 years-old. Lately I’ve been noticing little things that show me how much he is maturing and taking responsibility. And I keep thinking how proud AnnaLeah and Mary would be of him. They both spent so much time with him from the time he was born.

gertie 264Minolta DSC

One thing Marcus asked me about the other day was when he saw my copy of the book Car Safety Wars by Michael Lemov. Car safety wars, he asked?  So I had to try and explain it. I asked him what a war is and what happens in a war. And we talked about how it’s a war because while we’re “fighting for” some things to make cars and roads safer, other people are fighting against them.


AnnaLeah would have been 21 now and Mary would be turning 17 in a few weeks. But they’re not. And at least part of the blame for their deaths by preventable vehicle violence can be attributed to “car safety wars”. They, and countless others, paid the price. Casualties of the traffic safety war.

Car Safety Wars

“Our grandma wants to make the roads safer.” Remembering 2 girls in the aftermath of a truck crash

Examining Ways to Improve Vehicle and Roadway Safety

Examining Ways to Improve Vehicle and Roadway Safety – See more at: http://energycommerce.house.gov/hearing/examining-ways-improve-vehicle-and-roadway-safety#sthash.F4YzqjVb.dpuf

Joan Claybrook, Consumer Co-chair of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) and former Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), spoke today to the COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND COMMERCE, SUBCOMITTEE ON COMMERCE, MANUFACTURING AND TRADE:

“It is essential that NHTSA, the agency charged with ensuring the safety of our vehicles and our drivers, be equipped with both the appropriate resources and personnel to confront the myriad of emerging issues presented by new technologies. It is almost incomprehensible that the entire vehicle safety program for the U.S. has a miniscule budget of only $130 million, and it has barely increased over the last six years. It is both unfortunate and unnecessary that this agency is chronically underfunded by Congress even while its critical importance to public health and safety continues to expand. Congress has a moral obligation in the safety title of the six year reauthorization bill to give NHTSA the ability to do its job and to do it effectively. Our lives and those of our families as well as yours literally depend on it.”


Victims testify:

Car Safety Wars book cover

“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

Who should bear the responsibility for deaths & injuries due to known safety defects?

Should there be criminal penalties for cases in which persons are killed as a result of known safety defects in vehicles?

What is a “safety defect” anyway?

http://resources.lawinfo.com/personal-injury/products-liability/toyota-recall/what-is-a-safety-related-motor-vehicle-defect.html “The United States Code for Motor Vehicle Safety (Title 49, Chapter 301) defines motor vehicle safety as “the performance of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment in a way that protects the public against unreasonable risk of accidents occurring because of the design, construction, or performance of a motor vehicle, and against unreasonable risk of death or injury in an accident, and includes nonoperational safety of a motor vehicle.” A defect includes “any defect in performance, construction, a component, or material of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment.” As reported by the Office of Defects Investigation ( www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov) a “safety defect” is defined as a problem that exists in a motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment that:

  • poses a risk to motor vehicle safety, and
  • may exist in a group of vehicles of the same design or manufacture, or items of equipment of the same type and manufacture.”


If there is a known safety defect and no attempt is made to correct the problem and someone dies or is seriously injured as a result, who should be held responsible for this and what price should they have to pay?

Some have written about this topic:


When I read the above article this morning, it reminded me of things said by Michael Lemov–in his book, Car Safety Wars; 100 Years of Technology, Politics, and Death, which chronicles interesting quotes and facts concerning the history of vehicle safety defects and their impact on matters of life and death:

  • “Enforcement should be strengthened to include criminal penalties, because drivers, Nader said, already face criminal penalties for reckless driving and similar offenses.”
  • p. 92, “…the miniscule amount that senator Robert Kennedy (New York) established the industry spent for automotive safety, in comparison to its billions in annual profits (less than one percent it turned out). Or the large number of ‘dealer recalls’ for defects (478 in 1965), many of which the manufacturers had not told car owners anything about.”
  • p. 92, “…the Johnson administration’s ensuing decision to ask Congress for the passage of the first federal motor vehicle safety law in history.”
  • p. 92, “President Johnson had included a statement on the motor vehicle safety issue in his 1966 State of the Union message to Congress–and to the millions of Americans listening that January evening. Johnson spoke mostly about the two overriding issues of the day–the administration’s ‘War on Poverty’ and the quagmire of the bloody, seemingly endless Vietnam War. In his ten-page State of the Union address the President devoted just two sentences to highway safety. He called for the nation to ‘arrest the destruction of life and property on our highways.’ And he said he would propose a Highway Safety Act to ‘end this mounting tragedy.”
  • p. 92-93, “The President’s transportation message released in early March 1966 further spelled out the administration’s traffic-safety plan. It forcefully stated the need for legislation on vehicle design-safety, placing it squarely in the forefront of the public’s consciousness: Last year, the highway death toll set a new record. The prediction for this year is more than 50,000 persons will die on our streets and highways–more than 50,000 useful and promising lives will be lost, and as many families stung by grief. The toll of Americans killed in this way since the introduction of the automobile is truly unbelievable. It is 1.5 million–more than all the combat deaths suffered in all our wars. . . No other necessity of modern life has brought more convenience to the “American people–or more tragedy–than the automobile. . . the carnage on the highways must be arrested. . . we must replace suicide with sanity and anarchy with safety.
  • p. 95, “Despite all the rhetoric, the main issue was relatively simple. How extensive should the new federal authority be to set enforceable national motor vehicle safety standards? That power was central to the proposed law. It was delegated in the administration’s bill to the inexperienced, business-friendly Department of Commerce. Ultimately it was to be transferred to the as yet nonexistent Department of Transportation. . . In handing off the issue to his senior colleague Magnuson, Senator Ribicoff was specific in his recommendations. Ribicoff repeated the gruesome statistics of rising deaths and injuries. He asked: Could it be that we have reached the point where we simply accept the highway toll as an ordinary fact of life? Is this one of the prices we must pay for the privilege for living in a modern, technological society? I hope not. We must concern ourselves with more than the causes of accidents.
  • p. 95, “Ribicoff endorsed the decades-old position of doctors, accident investigators, and university researchers, which had long been ignored by the manufacturers and the safety establishment: ‘We must look beyond the accident to the cause of the injury that results. I am speaking, of course, about the so-called second collision, the often lethal battering which the occupants of a vehicle incur as the result of even a minor crash.’
  • p. 95, “And Ribicoff challenged one of the key arguments of the manufacturers: ‘The automobile industry seems inclined to believe that the American public will not buy a safe car. In fact, some spokesmen for the industry have stated that safety doesn’t sell, and that they have no choice if they want to stay in business but to give the public what the public wants.'”
  • p. 95, “But Ribicoff argued that the public and the press were now ‘aroused’ and had finally grasped the ‘significance of the second collision’–and presumably the need for federal vehicle standards as a means of preventing the deaths and injuries ‘that inevitably result from accidents.'”
  • p. 95, “. . .Ribicoff said: ‘We believe the president’s highway safety bill can be and should be strengthened and improved.'”
  • p. 97, “Nader followed with a laundry list of defects in the proposed administration bill:
  • “It should ensure that motor vehicle safety standards applied to pedestrian safety.
  • “The federal standards should include their technical or engineering basis, so they could be evaluated by independent experts and the public[these technical specifications might be deemed trade secrets by the carmakers].
  • “The bill should make government issuance of the standards within one year, mandatory [not discretionary as provided in the administration’s bill].
  • “Court review should be broadened to include a right to sue for ‘affected parties’ and a right of review by ‘consumers and insurers.’
  • “The production of prototype ‘safe cars’ should be mandated.
  • “Vehicle manufacturers should be required to submit annual performance [crash] data, showing how well their cars were performing in actual use.
  • “All car-maker communications with their dealers regarding safety should be submitted to the government and be made public.
  • “Enforcement should be strengthened to include criminal penalties, because drivers, Nader said, already face criminal penalties for reckless driving and similar offenses.”
  • Car Safety Wars book cover