Tag Archives: safety is not a priority

Byron Bloch on Auto Safety, Federal Pre-Emption & Vision Zero, Corporate Crime Reporter, Jan. 2011

I was interviewed yesterday by Russell Mokhiber, editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter. He just shared this 2011 article with me:

Byron Bloch on Auto Safety, Federal Pre-Emption and Vision Zero 25 Corporate Crime Reporter 3, January 17, 2011

Here is an excerpt from that article:

The case focuses on a federal rule that allows auto makers to use a seat belt only – without a shoulder belt – on seats next to an aisle in the middle row of a minivan.

In the case in question, the passenger in that middle row seat next to the aisle was killed when the Mazda minivan she was riding in was involved in a head on collision. She was wearing the only belt available – the seat belt – and she jack-knifed – causing fatal internal injuries.

Mazda argued that the federal rule allowing it to put only a seat belt on that middle row seat – without a shoulder belt – pre-empts state common law.

The appellate court agreed with Mazda and the plaintiff appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Auto safety expert Byron Bloch was at the Supreme Court when the justices heard the oral argument in the case last November.

He’s not optimistic about the outcome.

“Chief Justice Roberts focused on various of the economic factors,” Bloch said in an interview with Corporate Crime Reporter last week. “He thought that was an important consideration. Having a shoulder belt might cost Mazda more money. And shouldn’t Mazda be allowed to make economic decisions with regard to these various safety devices in a vehicle?

Very interesting. Safety vs Profit.

Safety is not a priority 002

Safety: I do not think that word means what you think it means.

Do we really have to beg our legislators to vote for safety instead of profitability? Give me a break!

Right now, the House of Representatives is getting ready to vote on a multi-year highway bill. It is my understanding that lobbyists have asked legislators to propose amendments to the bill which could make the roads less safe.

It seems to me that this is a prime example of the need for a shift to a Vision Zero policy in our government. If we have to beg our senators and representatives to vote for safety instead of profitability {saving human lives over decreasing the profits of corporations}, then that indicates to me that, unless we make our voice heard and call for lasting, far-reaching, bottomline change, we will continue to fight this battle year after year–and the trucking and automotive industries will continue to have the upper hand. Ad nauseam.

Throughout my life, I have heard many people make the statement that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting to get different results.

That is why I am asking for change through our Vision Zero Petition:  http://www.thepetitionsite.com/417/742/234/save-lives-not-dollars-urge-dot-to-adopt-vision-zero-policy/ and this, I believe, should be directed to the White House asking for an Executive Order or Presidential Memorandum requiring a major shift.

People, this affects you and me–our friends and families.

gertie 132

Here is what we have been asked to tell our legislators:

“. . .  Congressman Ribble’s amendment (Amendment #29) would increase the federal weight limit for large trucks from 80,000-lbs. to 91,000-lbs. Based on a letter he sent to Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Foxx detailing his eagerness to see the results of the Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Limits Study (Study), it is surprising that Rep. Ribble ignored the results. The DOT concluded that there should be no increase to truck size and weight due to a lack of data.

There was so little national data regarding six-axle 91,000-lbs. trucks that the DOT could only use one state, Washington, to study this configuration. In that state, these heavier trucks experienced a 47 percent increase in crash rate. Moreover, the Technical Report of the Study found that truck configurations operating over 80,000-lbs. had 18 percent more brake violations and a higher number of brake violations per inspection.

. . . other special weight exemptions for either states or specific industries including:

Amendment #3 | Nolan (MN), Crawford (AR) – Permits “covered logging vehicles”- that have a gross vehicle weight of no more than 99,000 pounds and has no less than six-axles to operate on I-35 in Minnesota.

Amendment #7 | Rooney (FL) – Provides that a state may allow, by special permit, the operation of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of up to 95,000 pounds for the hauling of livestock.

Amendment #9 | Duffy (WI), Ribble (WI) – Increases weight limit restrictions for logging vehicles on a 13-mile stretch of I-39 to match Wisconsin state law.

Amendment #60 | Crawford (AR), Nolan (MN) – Permits specific vehicles to use a designated three-miles on U.S. 63 in Arkansas during daylight hours.

Amendment #76 | Farenthold (TX), Babin (TX), Green (TX) – Allows for only certain trucks with current weight exemptions to be allowed to continue riding at those higher weight exemptions once certain segments of Texas State Highways are converted into Interstate 69.

Amendment #154 | Mica (FL) – Requires that a state may not prohibit the operation of an automobile transporter with a gross weight of 84,000 pounds or less on any segment of the Interstate System or qualified Federal aid primary highways designated by the Secretary.

Congress has the chance to make our roads safer for motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, as well as truck drivers. They should be using this multi-year highway bill to enhance safety in the trucking industry, not rolling it back. Bearing in mind that big rigs carrying loads close to the current Federal limit are already twice as likely to be involved in a fatal crash as trucks carrying less than 50,000 lbs., the solution should not be to introduce heavier trucks that will continue wearing our bridges and, per basic physics, do far more damage upon impact.

. . .  please do not pass a bill that will only help the interests of the few (companies) at the expense of the safety of the many (motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, and truck drivers).


“The Rules Committee. . . is responsible for determining which amendments can be brought to the floor while a bill is being considered. It is important we tell these Members to oppose any amendments that increase trucks weights.”

TSC, November 3, 2015

I would say that the facts are clear that Safety Is most definitely Not A Priority:

Safety is not a priority 002