The CBS Tragic Fatal Crash That Killed 60 Minutes Reporter Bob Simon

The CBS Tragic Fatal Crash That Killed 60 Minutes Reporter Bob Simon

February, 2015

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Last year, in the foreword to the 2014 Car Book,  Clarence Ditlow, the Executive Director of the Center for Auto Safety wrote:

“The media recently focused on the fatal crashes involving Jacqueline Mars, the Mars candy heiress, whose 2004 Porsche Cayenne crossed the centerline and hit another vehicle; and Paul Walker, star of Fast and Furious, who was killed in a 2005 Porsche Carrera that veered off the road in a high speed crash.  Yet the media did not ask why Mars and Walker who could have afforded any vehicle did not pick a newer Porsche or another performance sports car with electronic stability control or lane departure control that might have prevented their tragic, fatal crashes. 

Most celebrities in America have agents to help them negotiate their contracts, run their finances and advance their careers.  Yet how many have an agent to select a safe car which will insure their career or life will not be cut short by a tragic car crash such as were Grace Kelley, Steve Allen, and James Dean.”

Ditlow notes that to prevent future tragedies companies should consider the following advice:

“CBS fits in the category of entities that should use the safest possible vehicles for employees and guests for whom it provides transportation.  The Lincoln Town Car was phased out in 2011.  Neither the 2011 or 2010 in which Bob Simon was riding had side curtain airbags, collision avoidance braking, or lane departure control.    The Town Car had side torso airbags only for the front seat and not for the rear seat where Bob Simon was riding.  There are any number of 2015 large sedans that have these features.  Side curtain airbags are now standard in 2015 cars which shows how out-of-date the Town Car is in safety.  The Town Car is the livery vehicle of choice due to its size, reliability and relatively low cost; not safety.  If status is a factor for companies like CBS, use Mercedes S-Class limos with all the above safety features.  No guarantee one will avoid all crashes but they will be less severe and injury will be mitigated.



NHTSA Revolving Door: Corporate Servants>”Public” Servants>Corporate Servants

NHTSA Revolving Door: Corporate Servants > “Public” Servants > Corporate Servants

February, 2015

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

NHTSA Revolving Door Spin

*  WSJ reports on former NHTSA Administrator David Kelly as frontrunner to head auto industry investigation of Takata airbag defect.


*  Safety Advocate Rosemary Shahan reports that former NHTSA Deputy Administrator Ron Medford is pushing for using the public essentially as safety guinea pigs.The auto manufacturers and Google are working in tandem to seek weak regulation of autonomous vehicles, which are already being operated on the highways in some states, including CA. They’re basically using our highways as their test track. They’re pushing the CA DMV very aggressively to allow them to “self-certify” that their cars meet federal motor vehicle safety standards, without any further standards or any third-party verification.  They also claim that the US safety recall system is “robust” and adequate to handle any safety problems that arise. Ron Medford, who used to be the Deputy Director of NHTSA, and Chan Lieu, who served as Director of Government Affairs, Policy and Strategic Planning at NHTSA are both now speaking on behalf of Google and the manufacturers, before the DMV.”Here’s video of the most recent hearing: Earlier hearings — with notations for when Ron Medford from Google is speaking about the safety recall system: Part 2A3:00 – 5:00 Part 2B6:35 – 7:08

America we can and must do better than let corporations govern our safety.


Americans Worked, Paid Taxes, and Died Needlessly – 911 System Fails Us in 2015! – Why?

Americans Worked, Paid Taxes, and Died Needlessly – 911 System Fails Us in 2015! – Why?

February, 2015

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:
The 911 Broken Line

On Monday February 23, 2015, USA Today published an excellent Investigative Report on the failures of America’s 911 “system” to save us.  It begins with:

“As water filled her sinking SUV, Shanell Anderson did what anyone would do. She tried the doors. They wouldn’t budge. She dialed 911 on her cellphone, telling the operator exactly where she was.

Anderson, 31, was delivering newspapers near Atlanta around 4 a.m.that day in late December, so she knew the cross streets, even the ZIP code. She repeated her location over and over, but it didn’t help. Because Anderson’s call was routed through the nearest cellphone tower to a neighboring county’s 911 system, the dispatcher couldn’t find the streets on her maps. Worse yet, the system couldn’t get a fix on the cellphone’s location before the call ended.

In the agonizing final seconds of the call, Anderson’s words are muffled by the sounds of pond water. The dispatcher asks for the address again, then utters, “I lost her.”

It took 20 minutes for rescuers to get to Anderson and pull the 31-year old suburban Atlanta woman from her car, barely alive. She died a week and a half later in the hospital. Her 911 call is one of millions that fail to give police, fire and ambulance dispatchers a quick fix on location, a technology shortfall that can leave callers like Anderson in grave danger….”  

Your chance of 911 getting a quick fix on location ranges from as low as 10% to as high as 95%, according to hundreds of pages of local, state and federal documents obtained and reviewed by USA TODAY and more than 40 Gannett newspapers and television stations across the country….” 

The quest to make cellphone calls to 911 more useful to emergency crews began in the mid-1990s. The FCC set a deadline: Two-thirds of cellphone calls would transmit location to 911 by 2002. That rule was written when cellphone calls were mostly made outdoors, and the industry says it can meet the goal when applied only to outdoor calls. The deadline got pushed back several times since then….”

“An estimated 10,000 people each year would be saved with accurate location standards from indoor cellphone calls,” Molitor wrote, citing an FCC estimate for the number of lives that could be saved by a one-minute reduction in emergency response times. “Whatever hang-ups they have cannot be more important than 10,000 lives.”


The 911 Timeline of Hope

March 27, 1997  Briefing to NHTSA Administrator Dr. Ricardo Martinez, Emergency Physician. See

1999    Based in part on that research, the Wireless Communicationsand Public Safety Act of 1999, became law and specified 9-1-1 as the “universal emergency telephone number.”  As we wrote in our NHTSA published paper:

“The Act, based in part on the research findings reported herein, states that “emerging technologies can be a critical component…to reduce emergency response times and provide appropriate care”.

The Act’s first finding states:
“…the establishment and maintenance of an end-to-end communications infrastructure among members of the public, emergency safety, fire service and law enforcement officials,emergency dispatch providers,  transportation officials, and hospital

emergency and trauma care facilities will reduce response times for the delivery of emergency care, assist in delivering appropriate care, and thereby prevent fatalities, substantially reduce the severity
and extent of injuries, reduce time lost from work, and save thousands of lives and billions of dollars.”
Also in 1999, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued rules for Enhanced 9-1-1 service for wireless calls to automatically
provide location information to emergency dispatchers.”  See
2005NHTSA published ourpaper on the importance of time, information, and new tools to help crash victims survive.  See
2013  My second petition was delivered to the Federal Interagency Committee on EMS (FICEMS) and the National Emergency Medical Services Advisory Committee (NEMSAC).  I asked please recommend a National 10 year Goal for an end to the waiting that contributes to countless thousands of needless deaths.  See
For Too Many Americans 911 Hopes Remain Unfulfilled 
For crash victims, rescue is too little, too late, too often, for too many Americans – year after year, day after day, – to this day!
Since 1997 about 660,000 Americans have died of their crash injuries in the U.S.A. — more than 50% of them were “Not Taken” to any facility for emergency medical care.  And another estimated 35 million Americans suffered crash injuries. Since 1997 the number of Americans who have died of crash injuries plus the number who suffered crash injuries now exceeds the number of Americans that died and were injured in all wars since 1776. That number is 2,717,993.  See and
Continued Hope for Building a Safer America
*  The U.S.A. now has data for crash deaths by State for each year 1978 – 2011 that were not taken to any facility for emergency medical treatment.  Year after year more than 50% of crash deaths still are “Not Taken” in NHTSA’s terminology.  See*  The U.S.A. now has crash deaths mapping tools by Congressional District for the past decade (2002 – 2011).  These tools are available free to all media.  See
*  The U.S.A. now has a growing understanding of the need to free government agencies from regulatory capture and control of safety policies so that America gets the protection it needs – here in the U.S.A. See
So thanks and kudos to USA Today and its team of investigative reporters and editors for their excellent work!  They help show how we can and must do better protecting Americans by building a safer America – here in the U.S.A.  Today please, because it is about time!


Vision Zero & A Tale of Two Volvos

Vision Zero & A Tale of Two Volvos

February, 2015

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Attached is the February 2015 issue of the Monthly Report.

Please note if you have not done so, please subscribe now for 2015.   My accountant says to remind you all to subscribe at



Sen. Markey Report on Automobile Security and Privacy Vulnerabilities

Sen. Markey Report on Automobile Security and Privacy Vulnerabilities

February, 2015

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Please see:



Contact: Eben Burnham-Snyder (Markey) 202-224-2742

Markey Report Reveals Automobile Security and Privacy Vulnerabilities

Wireless technologies leave vehicles exposed to hackers; Information collected on driver locations, habits

WASHINGTON (February 9, 2014) – New standards are needed to plug security and privacy gaps in our cars and trucks, according to a report released today by Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.). The report, called Tracking & Hacking: Security & Privacy Gaps Put American Drivers at Risk and first reported on by CBS News’ 60 Minutes, reveals how sixteen major automobile manufacturers responded to questions from Senator Markey in 2014 about how vehicles may be vulnerable to hackers, and how driver information is collected and protected.

The responses from the automobile manufacturers show a vehicle fleet that has fully adopted wireless technologies like Bluetooth and even wireless Internet access, but has not addressed the real possibilities of hacker infiltration into vehicle systems. The report also details the widespread collection of driver and vehicle information, without privacy protections for how that information is shared and used.

“Drivers have come to rely on these new technologies, but unfortunately the automakers haven’t done their part to protect us from cyber-attacks or privacy invasions. Even as we are more connected than ever in our cars and trucks, our technology systems and data security remain largely unprotected,” said Senator Markey, a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “We need to work with the industry and cyber-security experts to establish clear rules of the road to ensure the safety and privacy of 21st-century American drivers.”

Senator Markey posed his questions after studies showed how hackers can get into the controls of some popular vehicles, causing them to suddenly accelerate, turn, kill the brakes, activate the horn, control the headlights, and modify the speedometer and gas gauge readings. Additional concerns came from the rise of navigation and other features that record and send location or driving history information. Senator Markey wanted to know what automobile manufacturers are doing to address these issues and protect drivers.

The full report is available HERE.

The first part of the report addresses security, or how modern technologies open doors to hackers.

When Senator Markey asked the automakers about the different technologies and the ways they safeguard the technologies from infiltration, he found four trends:

–Nearly 100 percent of vehicles on the market include wireless technologies that could pose vulnerabilities to hacking or privacy intrusions.

–Most automobile manufacturers were unaware of or unable to report on past hacking incidents.

–Security measures to prevent remote access to vehicle electronics are inconsistent and haphazard across the different manufacturers.

–Only two automobile manufacturers were able to describe any capabilities to diagnose or meaningfully respond to an infiltration in real-time, and most said they rely on technologies that cannot be used for this purpose at all.

The second part of the report deals with privacy. Features like navigation are quietly recording and sending out our personal and driving history. The Markey report reveals four key findings on privacy:

–Automobile manufacturers collect large amounts of data on driving history and vehicle performance.

–A majority of automakers offer technologies that collect and wirelessly transmit driving history information to data centers, including third-party data centers, and most did not describe effective means to secure the information.

–Manufacturers use personal vehicle data in various ways, often vaguely to “improve the customer experience” and usually involving third parties, and retention policies – how long they store information about drivers – vary considerably among manufacturers.

–Customers are often not explicitly made aware of data collection and, when they are, they often cannot opt out without disabling valuable features, such as navigation.

In November 2014, the automobile manufacturers agreed to a voluntary set of privacy principles in an attempt to address some of these privacy concerns. In a statement, Senator Markey stated that the principles are an important first step, but they fall short in a number of key areas by not offering explicit assurances of choice and transparency.

The findings are based on responses from BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen (with Audi), and Volvo. Letters were also sent to Aston Martin, Lamborghini, and Tesla, which did not respond.


When Government and Industry Fail To Protect Us, Tragedies Continue

When Government and Industry Fail To Protect Us, Tragedies Continue

February, 2015

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:
NHTSA Still Protecting Automakers
The NY Times has provided excellent investigative reporting on the failures of NHTSA and automakers to protect us from defects for decades.  Christopher Jensen reports:

“The auto industry recalled almost 64 million vehicles for safety problems last year, a record, according to figures released on Thursday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The number of recalled vehicles exceeded the total for the previous three years combined.

The agency and automakers faced intense scrutiny in 2014 and sometimes scorching criticism from Congress about whether safety defects were being investigated properly and vehicles recalled promptly….”

An investigation last year by The New York Times of the N.H.T.S.A. found that the agency had frequently been slow to identify problems, tentative to act and reluctant to employ its full legal powers against companies….” “In a departure from its practice in previous years, N.H.T.S.A. did not release the number of recalls by manufacturer. But General Motors accounted for almost 27 million of the recalled vehicles, the automaker said.” See 

AP reporter Tom Krisher writes an excellent in depth article on a tragic Jeep crash.“As Kayla White slowed her SUV behind two other cars to exit a suburban Detroit freeway on Veterans Day, it was rammed from behind by a Cadillac STS. Her red 2003 Jeep Liberty bounced off a Nissan in front of it, rolled onto its side and exploded in flames.

Other drivers ran to help but were forced back by the heat. Firefighters arrived in just three minutes but were too late. White, a 23-year-old restaurant hostess who was eight months pregnant, died of burns and smoke inhalation….

“Heath had no alcohol in his system and wasn’t texting or distracted by his cellphone, says Cooper, the prosecutor. He faces up to a year in jail. Cooper says White’s “horribly tragic” death was the result of Heath’s careless driving.

But Douglas Hampton, Heath’s attorney, isn’t so sure. He has more investigating to do but will probably argue that White’s death was caused by the vulnerable fuel tank and that Heath shouldn’t be charged with causing her death.

“If it wasn’t for the gas tank, that would be an appropriate charge,” Hampton says.”


Blame the little guy rather than the big corporations, and we all continue to be in danger – needlessly.


The Priorities of Foundations Need to Improve for Americans

The Priorities of Foundations Need to Improve for Americans

February, 2015

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Nader asks large foundations to rethink priorities.  Nader notes the Center for Auto Safety:“One aviation safety group of long-proven merit, the Aviation Consumer Action Project, had to close down, while another, the Center for Auto Safety, has worked wonders but on a tiny budget.”  See

As usual, Nader is right on a subject of life or death importance.

Foundations have “sequestered” billions of dollars made, and tax sheltered, in America.  Yet here in America we are still struggling to get out of the Great Recession while foundations spend huge amounts of money elsewhere.   Just one example, in an interview in 2010, Melinda Gates was interviewed:Q. “Why don’t you direct more of your philanthropy toward the United States, where your foundation could create jobs for the unemployed, or try to solve the health care crisis? A. “As a foundation, first of all, you have to focus. But we absolutely do focus on the United States. We have three large programs: global health, global development and U.S. programs. About 20 percent goes to U.S. programs.”  See

20 percent!  How do Americans make that “20 percent” as infamous as either Romney’s 47% or the 99% of Inequality in America infamy?
Since 2010, when fellow American Melinda Gates uttered that “about 20 percent”,  about 120,000 fellow Americans died of their crash injuries and about another 500,000 fellow Americans suffered serious crash injuries.  And as the latest NHTSA report shows the estimated value of societal harm in America now amounts to nearly a trillion dollars each year.  See
We who care for crash victims — and know that we can adopt a Vision Zero deaths and serious injuries goal for all new cars in a decade — need to ask:  Why?  And Why not?
For starters imagine closing the loophole in IRS rules that allow foundations to include foreign travel expenses as part of the foundations “charitable” expenditures.
American foundations need to be more patriotic.
And Americans need to do better demanding it.  Yes we can!

PS  Since I wrote this earlier, I realized I had underestimated the number of crash deaths since October 2010 and a reader sent me the following article by another colossal foundation spending big money made in America and tax sheltered in America but spent elsewhere rather than on Americans here in the U.S.A.  

Former mayor of NYC Bloomberg who did not have a Vision Zero Goal of crash deaths in NY city for years has “decided” to give $125 million over 5 years to improve road safety elsewhere around the world.  See   And the Bloomberg programs sound like the programs President Coolidge and Secretary Herbert Hoover advocated in the 1920s.  See It is as though fellow American Bloomberg never read Nader’s “Unsafe at Any Speed” that pointed out the need for auto safety technologies to be developed and applied.  Auto safety technologies, required by law, spurred by Nader’s work in the 1960s have now been estimated to have saved more than 600,000 American lives.  See

At least Bloomberg’s successor NY City Mayor De Blasio has set a Vision Zero Safety Goal for NYC.  See

Hopefully, these fellow Americans will act more patriotically in the future and help build a safer America before spending more elsewhere all over the world.

The American people deserve better than they are getting.