White House Auto Legislation & Auto Industry Lobbying: Who Will Win?


White House Auto Legislation & Auto Industry Lobbying: Who Will Win?

April, 2015

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

International Business Times reports in a good article: “The U.S. auto safety regulator would get power to unilaterally demand automakers stop selling vehicles it says have safety related defects under the White House’s multiyear transportation funding bill that went to Congress this week. But the move to reform the way car safety is regulated will likely face stiff opposition from manufacturers who succeeded in weakening legislative efforts in 2010 that would have bolstered federal oversight and increased noncompliance penalties….”“The fine is too small for these multinational corporations,” said Claybrook. “We don’t think there should be a cap.”

Attempts to lift the cap on penalties were struck down in 2010 after aggressive lobbying by the automakers, dealers and trade groups, who spent more than $40 million that year on congressional lobbying. The bill to increase penalties against automakers and to boost safety standards for automotive electronics was watered down after it passed Congress. The industry spent $40.1 million in lobbying efforts last year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, down from its all-time high of $58 million in 2007.”  See

http://www.ibtimes.com/auto-recalls-us-regulator-would-gain-stop-sale-authority-over-carmakers-if-white-1865452

Compare the $40.1 million spent by the auto industry last year on lobbying with the $9.1 million value that DOT policy guidance places on just one “statistical life” (copy attached).

Compare the $40.1 million the auto industry may spend on lobbying in each of the next 6 years (~$240 million) with the estimated 192,000 crash deaths expected over the next 6 years.  At $9.1 million per life the expected costs are $1.7 trillion.

Lobbyists are a good deal for the auto industry.  A bad deal for the American people.

A good bet is that the auto industry lobbyists will win — again.

Lou

 


Victims Lose Again to GM – First Safety Then Justice

April, 2015

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members: “This ruling padlocks the courthouse doors,” said Robert C. Hilliard, a lead plaintiffs’ lawyer. “Hundreds of victims and their families will go to bed tonight forever deprived of justice. G.M., bathing in billions, may now turn its back on the dead and injured, worry-free.”

The public needs to keep its eye on members of the Judicial branch as much as members of the Executive and Legislative branches of government.  

See http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/16/business/general-motors-wins-ruling-shielding-it-from-most-claims-over-ignition-flaw.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

Lou

 

NHTSA Administrator Rosekind: Wants Recall Solutions – As Do the American People


NHTSA Administrator Rosekind: Wants Recall Solutions – As Do the American People

April, 2015

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Automotive News reports:

“Everyone absolutely agrees that there are problems with notifications, parts availability and the timeliness of getting these done,” Rosekind said. “By the end of the day, we want solutions.”  
Yesterday the Center for Auto Safety posted important documents on the Walden tragedy involving a defective Chrysler Jeep made public by the plaintiff attorneys father and son team of Jim and Jeb Butler.
Thanks to the Butlers, their team, and the Walden family these documents are landmarks in the continuing work of Justice and now can be used to advance safety for all Americans.  See

Important Documents from Walden v. Chrysler

 Walden page: http://www.autosafety.org/walden-v-chrysler-trial

Americans and NHTSA Administrator Rosekind now face the life or death question:  How many more tragedies must we suffer before the endangerment of American lives is ended?
Lou

 

NHTSA’s Administrator Rosekind Plans Summit with Auto CEOs and Meeting With Safety Advocates


NHTSA’s Administrator Rosekind Plans Summit with Auto CEOs and Meeting With Safety Advocates

April, 2015

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

In the Detroit News, David Shepardson reports:“The head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans a summit this summer with the chief executives of major automakers that will address the auto industry’s safety culture in the face of 2014’s record-setting recalls.

NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind told reporters at the New York International Auto Show on Thursday in a roundtable discussion that he plans a meeting sometime around June….”

Rosekind plans other meetings, including an April 28 event in Washington on finding solutions to boost recall completion rates with automakers, safety advocates and others.”

See:  http://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/autos/2015/04/09/nhtsa/25518561/

Lou

 

You Can Get A Reviewer’s Copy of Car Safety Wars Free


You Can Get A Reviewer’s Copy of Car Safety Wars Free

April, 2015

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:
I just learned that as members you may be able to get a free Review Copy if you are with the media or an author. You need to mention your publication or web site and say you are considering a review of Car Safety Wars.  You can send your request to the publisher atreviews@rowman.com
I think it is important to get the word on safety out now.   One reason is because deaths and serious injuries rise as more people drive during the Spring and Summer months.
Alternatively, you can use the discount coupon attached.
Note: I do not get any commission or remuneration – it is a good deed to get the word out on a massive safety problem that so much can be done to save lives.  My Review is at http://www.careforcrashvictims.com/assets/MonthlyReportforApril2015.pdf
Lou

 

Hope for Safety and Justice in Guardrail Case Involving FHWA and Trinity Industries


Hope for Safety and Justice in Guardrail Case Involving FHWA and Trinity Industries

April, 2015

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

The NY Times reports:

“The Justice Department has begun a criminal investigation of the guardrail maker Trinity Industries and is examining the company’s relationship with the Federal Highway Administration, according to people with knowledge of the effort.

At least five potential witnesses, including one former federal highway agency official, have been interviewed in recent weeks by investigators, and at least one grand jury subpoena for documents has been issued, according to the people.

The Justice Department is seeking documents and other records related to a federal whistle-blower case that Trinity lost last October. In that trial, a jury found t he company liable for defrauding the government by failing to disclose design changes to its guardrail, called the ET-Plus.

The changes, made in 2005, are suspected of making the units more likely to jam when hit head-on, causing the metal rail to spear the vehicle. Trinity has said that its failure to disclose the changes was an oversight and that they did not affect the performance of the guardrail. The Justice Department investigation was first reported by Bloomberg News….”

“While the full scope of the criminal investigation remains unclear, federal agents have been gathering information regarding the interactions of Federal Highway Administration officials and Trinity before and after the agency was first made aware, in 2012, of the previously undisclosed changes to the ET-Plus.”

See http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/23/business/guardrail-maker-is-said-to-be-focus-of-us-case.html

This is what it may take to secure Safety and Justice:  Criminal investigations of government officials.

In the Jeep fatal Walden case, NHTSA protected former NHTSA Administrator David Strickland from being deposed by plaintiff attorney Jim Butler.

See the attached denial of a request to depose Mr. Strickland and the attorney’s protest.  Such obstruction of safety and justice by DOT must not be allowed to prevail over victims’ rights to information on government actions of life or death importance.

 

See also: 2015-03-05JamesButlertoSarahSorgatNHTSAOfficeofCounselredepoofStrickland.pdf

Lou