Progressive Mayors & Saving Pedestrians from Death and Disabling Injuries

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

We have to thank Harold Meyerson for a great analysis of the rise of Progressive Mayors such as Mayor de Blasio in the U.S. Mr. Meyerson wrote in the Washington Post : “Twenty years ago, half of America’s dozen largest cities had Republican mayors. Today, just one does. Of the 30 largest U.S. cities, 26 have Democratic mayors…”

See http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/harold-meyerson-progressives-take-manhattan-and-many-other-us-places/2014/04/23/8f727cf0-cb17-11e3-a75e-463587891b57_story.html

Former Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx recently announced grants to 3 cities (NY, Louisville, and Philadelphia) for pedestrian protection. See

http://www.dot.gov/briefing-room/us-department-transportation-announces-winners-pedestrian-safety-grants

This is a positive small step forward. But as Table 8 in the latest NHTSA Report attached shows many other cities have significant pedestrian safety problems too. In 2012, while NYC had 127 pedestrian deaths, Los Angeles had 99 (Philadelphia had 31 and Louisville 6).

As I commented to NHTSA in February:

“Please consider Executive actions to achieve Vision Zero crash deaths nationally by the year 2024 for the nation – as Mayor de Blasio has nobly and morally done for NYC.

The NY Times reports “Only two weeks into his administration, Mr. de Blasio set a sweeping goal on Wednesday: to bring the number of New Yorkers killed in traffic “literally” to zero, saying it would be “a central focus” of his administration.”

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/16/nyregion/de-blasio-announces-steps-to-reduce-traffic-deaths.html

    • Imagine a challenge from citizens to Mayors de Blasio, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, and former Mayor Anthony Foxx to create such a race to stop crash deaths.
    • Imagine the competition of the two cities NY and LA with the highest annual number of crash fatalities to achieve Vision Zero crash fatalities first.
    • Imagine the LA Times challenging the NY Times on coverage of this race.
    • Imagine bi-coastal competitions engaging Boston, Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley.
    • Imagine citizens demanding that Mayors challenge the students in Universities to get involved to discover and help apply safety countermeasures.
    • Imagine a challenge to students with a worthy goal. Unleash the energy and ability of students in Schools of Law, Medicine, Engineering, Public Health and Safety, Journalism, Public Administration and Management – each year for the next decade – until we achieve Vision Zero Crash Deaths in America.
    • Challenge students to research crashes, injuries, treatments, and outcomes and offer solutions.”

See http://www.careforcrashvictims.com/assets/com-NHTSA-strategic-plan.pdf

As citizens concerned with improving auto safety we have a duty to petition, challenge, and help our government to act on our behalf.

As of 3/20/2014, citizens in NYC have recorded on their Vision Zero Clock progress in achieving Mayor de Blasio’s vision zero goal and it showed that NYC is behind in achieving the goal with more than half the deaths in the city being pedestrian deaths.

See http://www.rightofway.org/vision-zero-clock

Let’s help achieve this worthy goal, please.

Praise for NHTSA Action to Protect Pedestrians

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

NHTSA has acted to protect pedestrians by funding new efforts in 3 cities.

See

http://www.dot.gov/briefing-room/us-department-transportation-announces-winners-pedestrian-safety-grants

Recently political leadership from NYC Mayor de Blasio has increased attention to the problems of pedestrian deaths and injuries.

Public opinion was inspired by his Vision Zero goal of zero crash deaths in NYC in a decade. The NY Times editorially supported the Vision Zero goal.

See my reporting with suggestions for actions at:

http://www.careforcrashvictims.com/assets/monthly-report-jan2014.pdf

http://www.careforcrashvictims.com/blog-mayorblasio.php

http://www.careforcrashvictims.com/assets/com-NHTSA-strategic-plan.pdf

Today’s actions by DOT NHTSA are a small, but positive, safety step forward. Much more needs to be done – and can be done – to protect pedestrians. See statistics on pedestrian fatalities at http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811888.pdf

Yes, we can!

Markey and Blumenthal Call on DOT NHTSA to Issue “Do Not Drive” Warning for GM Recall Vehicles

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Press Release, letter, supporting documents are available:

“FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

Josh Zembik (Blumenthal) 202-224-6452

Markey, Blumenthal Call on Transportation Dept. to Issue “Do Not Drive” Warning for Recalled GM Vehicles

In wake of GM recall, Senators introduced legislation to increase transparency and earlier reporting of auto defects

Washington (April 28, 2014) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) today called on the Department of Transportation (DOT) to advise owners of recalled GM vehicles to cease driving them until they are repaired. A federal court judge recently rejected a request to issue a “park it now” order for recalled cars, deferring to the federal regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), to do so instead. Additionally, the Senators are calling on DOT to compel GM to issue its own warnings directly to drivers, a step the company has refused to do to date. GM has indicated that it could take until October 2014 before it can complete all the needed repairs of impacted vehicles, leaving drivers at risk of further injury or even death. A faulty ignition switch defect in Chevy Cobalts and Saturn Ions has been linked to at least 13 deaths and dozens of injuries and led to a massive recall of 2.6 million GM vehicles.

“Every day that unrepaired vehicles remain on the road increases the risk of more injuries, deaths, and damage,” write the Senators. “We believe you – as the federal regulator referred to by the court – have a unique opportunity to protect public safety by taking stronger action to issue warnings of these dangers.”

A link to the letter to DOT can be found HERE.

Last month, Senators Markey and Blumenthal introduced S. 2151, The Early Warning Reporting Act, legislation that would require more information to be reported to the public Early Warning Reporting database when auto manufacturers first become aware of incidents involving fatalities.”

Detroit News report is at:

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140428/AUTO0103/304280071/1361/Two-senators-want-U.S.-to-force-GM-to-warn-recall-owners

NHTSA Recall Info is at:

http://www.safercar.gov/Vehicle+Owners/Consumer+Alert:+GM+Ignition+Switch+Recall+Information

Will it take another tragedy to move NHTSA to issue a “Do Not Drive” advisory?

Lessons in Leadership: How Citizens are Fighting for Crash Safety Vision Zero

Crash Victims Tell Their Stories

http://www.streetsblog.org/2014/04/30/traffic-violence-victims-families-tell-their-stories-at-city-hall/#more-324348

Crash Victims Map Tragedies

http://www.streetsblog.org/category/issues-campaigns/vision-zero/

Crash Victims Organizing in Cities

“Streetsblog New York City , Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, USA, and the national Streetsblog Network connect local, grassroots transportation reform advocates with one another and to a national movement for reform.”

http://la.streetsblog.org/about/

http://sf.streetsblog.org/

http://chi.streetsblog.org/

http://usa.streetsblog.org/

These are examples of citizen leadership in Building a Safer America.

President Obama, DOT Secretary Foxx and NHTSA Administrator Friedman Need to Do Better for Safety

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Too Little, Too late, for Too Many Americans

* President Obama’s popularity hits new low. No surprise to our readers. So far under President Obama’s watch more Americans died of their crash injuries than died in the Korean, Viet Nam, Iraq, and Afghanistan Wars – combined. See http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/post-abc-news-poll-shows-democrats-at-risk-in-november-as-obamas-approval-rating-falls/2014/04/28/2a448b04-cf07-11e3-b812-0c92213941f4_story.html

and http://www.careforcrashvictims.com/assets/CFCV-MonthlyReport-March2014-2%20.pdf

* DOT Secretary Foxx again fails to protect Americans from cars with defects.

“Foxx declined to comment directly on a request by Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., to urge GM to tell its owners of unrepaired recalled cars for ignition switch problems. Foxx said he would respond directly to the senators and said he is aware of the issue. Last month, he declined to urge owners to stop driving, saying they should follow GM’s advice to only use the ignition key….”

* Acting NHTSA Administrator David Friedman attempting to sound strong said:

“Whether traveling by motor vehicle, walking or bicycling, we are committed to ensuring that Americans reach their destinations safely. Our approach will continue to support both safer behavior and safer vehicles to prevent deaths and injuries on our roadways,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman. “As the nation’s top regulator of the automotive industry, we hold manufacturers accountable for defect and compliance issues regarding their products and are seeking to further our ability to do so in the future, including increasing civil penalty limits nearly 10 times to $300 million.”

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140429/AUTO01/304290068#ixzz30JIjmYze

These are not executive actions; just proposals. Will the Congress act? Will the fines be tax deductible?

Mr. Friedman, again attempting to sound strong, says his approach is “to support both safer behavior and safer vehicles.” The safer behavior he is referring to is not his behavior, nor NHTSA behavior — it is driver behavior. The reality is the NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation budget is about $10 million per year. Traffic Safety Grants budget for behavior programs is about $500 million per year. See 2014 Budget Overview attached.

More Words to Sound Strong – Not Executive Actions

“Foxx unveiled a four-year $302 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill that would use revenue from corporate tax reform — rather than higher gas taxes — to rebuild “crumbling roads and bridges while providing much-needed certainty for local and state governments and addressing the country’s future needs.”

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140429/AUTO01/304290068#ixzz30KIlX0NU

How To Get Safety Actions?

Imagine members of Congress and safety groups withholding support for the surface transportation bill until safety actions are taken by President Obama, Secretary Foxx, and NHTSA Acting Administrator Friedman.

Imagine citizens demanding effective auto safety actions to achieve the Vision Zero goal of no deaths in or by a new vehicle by the year 2024. That’s the goal set by Volvo and Mayor de Blasio for NYC.

Imagine safety groups and the media presenting compelling crash death data by State and Congressional district for the past decade.

See http://www.careforcrashvictims.com/CrashDeathMappingTools.php

We can, and must, get these officials to behave as public servants — not corporate servants in key NHTSA positions and coming and going though the DOT Revolving Door.

Access Associated Documents:

1 – NHTSA Budget Overview 2014

GM & NHTSA’s Defective Decision Making – People Died Needlessly

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Here is the April Report on this serious subject of life or death for crash victims past, present, and future.

While the subject is deadly serious, the follies of GM and NHTSA decision making have become matters of widespread ridicule in the media.

Associated Documents:

Monthly Report for April 2014