NHTSA May Reopen Jeep Fire Investigation
Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:
Which Matters More? Lives or money?
An excellent article on Jeep Recall shines light on former DOT & NHTSA officials and their role in the continuing endangerment of Americans – and their subsequent financial rewards.
“The new head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says the agency may reopen an investigation into the gas tank fires in older Jeep Cherokees that safety advocates say have taken at least 270 lives.
NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind also said the agency is not happy with the plodding pace of the effort to retrofit millions of Jeeps with non-functioning trailer hitches — the scheme cooked up at a secret meeting between Rosekind’s predecessor and Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of often-renamed Chrysler, now known as FCA US LLC in the United States.
“We’re not satisfied with the current situation so we are looking for every avenue that would be appropriate for us to take action,” Rosekind said in a meeting with reporters at the New York International Auto Show, the Detroit News reported. “Given all of the stuff that’s going on, we want to figure out what else we can be doing.”
Rosekind confirmed he is considering reopening the investigation and said: “Everything is on the table. … I have organized a group who is actually looking at any other actions that are available for us given the situation.”
“A federal jury in Georgia last week found that Chrysler showed “reckless or wanton disregard for human life” in the death of Remington Walden, 4, who died when the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by his aunt was rear-ended in a 2012 accident. The jury awarded the family $150 million and said Chrysler was 99% responsible for the accident.”
Hopefully this meeting signals a change in NHTSA for the better.
But to change the culture of NHTSA requires shifting officials around such that public servants, rather than corporate servants, occupy the responsible positions.
As CEO of NHTSA, Dr. Rosekind needs to change the culture of the agency before he can hope to change the culture in Detroit when he meets the auto CEOs in June.
Time and future lives lost will tell which matters more at NHTSA: lives or money.
Jurors Vote for Justice & Safety in Fiery Death of Child in Jeep Crash
Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:“A jury in Georgia has awarded $150 million to the family of a 4-year-old boy killed when a Jeep Grand Cherokee exploded into flames three years ago after being rear-ended. The jury said Chrysler, the maker of Jeeps, must pay nearly the full amount.
Jurors in Decatur County ruled Thursday that Chrysler acted with reckless disregard for human life in selling the family of Remington “Remi” Walden a 1999 Jeep with a gas tank mounted behind the rear axle.
Walden, of Bainbridge, Georgia, was killed when the Jeep driven by his aunt was hit from behind by a pickup truck in March 2012. The fuel tank leaked, engulfing the Jeep in flames and killing the boy.
The verdict comes nearly two years after Chrysler compromised with a federal safety agency and agreed to a scaled-down recall of some older-model Jeeps with the rear-mounted tanks. The tanks have little structure to protect them if struck from behind, making them susceptible to punctures and fires.
Federal documents show that at least 75 people have died in post-crash fires because of the rear-mounted fuel tanks.
The 11-woman, one-man jury ruled after a nine day trial that Chrysler was 99 percent at fault for the crash and the pickup driver was 1 percent at fault. Jurors also determined that Chrysler failed to warn the family of the hazards of driving the Jeep. They ruled that the Waldens should get $30 million for Remi’s pain and suffering and $120 million for the full value of his life, according to a verdict form.
Mike Palese, spokesman for Chrysler parent company FCA US, said the company is disappointed with the verdict and would appeal. Chrysler, he said, was prevented from presenting data submitted to federal safety regulators showing that the vehicles did not pose an unreasonable safety risk.
“The vehicles are not defective,” Palese said.”
Tragedies + Advocacy + Lawyers + Jurors = Justice & Safety
Will GM Deduct Payments to Crash Victims?
Taxpayers should also know how GM valued the lives lost. Was it the $9.1 million used in the DOT Policy Guidance? See attached DOT Policy.
If GM were required to pay the DOT value and it not be tax deductible, then all Americans would benefit. GM would have a greater incentive to provide safer vehicles to their customers and to the protection of us all from uncontrolled vehicles.
Discount on “Car Safety Wars” + Federal Revolving Door Solution Proposed by NY Times Editors
Good news on the growing recognition of Regulatory Capture is a new NY Times Editorial that concludes:
“But consumer advocates are surely right that putting the industry in charge of supplement regulation is like appointing the fox to guard the henhouse. Clearly, the F.D.A. should not allow industry insiders to fill key positions. A permanent solution is for Congress to enact conflict-of-interest laws forcing employees above a certain grade level at any agency to recuse themselves from official actions that affect a former employer or client, including trade associations and their members.”
While this example was a FDA scandal, the Revolving Door – Conflict of Interest problem is pervasive in Washington regulatory agencies today with tragic consequences for the American people.
A year ago I noted some of the high positions held – previously and presently – by former industry officials at the White House, OMB, DOT, NHTSA and CDC. Titled “On the Trail of Responsibilities for Crash Deaths and Serious Injuries” it documented a widespread problem of life or death importance to all Americans. See https://www.careforcrashvictims.com/assets/CFCV-MonthlyReport-March2014.pdf
Later in the year the NY Times carried an Op Ed by Clarence Ditlow and Ralph Nader that called for “Only a complete overhaul of the agency’s culture will prevent future recalls, since automakers will always place sales and profits over safety and innovation. This should start with closing the revolving door, adopting criminal penalties and increasing funding. All auto companies should have an independent, government-certified safety ombudsman to investigate complaints from whistle-blowers and to report defects directly to the chief executive and the agency.”
Hopefully this will all help Americans get the protection they need and pay for every day as taxpayers and consumers.
Your comments on the new book and my review are welcome.
Are Auto Dealers Against Safety?
Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:
“Consumer advocates have spent years trying to force used car dealers to fix recalled cars before selling them, but bills with that requirement have repeatedly failed to pass….”“These are issues that affect human life and safety,” said Calley Houck, a vocal opponent of the bill.
Houck knows firsthand about the dangers of recalled cars that don’t fall into that do not drive category. Both of her daughters were killed in a crash directly related to an open recall in their rented Chrysler PT Cruiser.
Like dealers, the bill allows a rental car company to rent you a recalled vehicle as long as they tell you about it.” See
Automotive News reports “Jim Click says he’s “all in” for Jeb Bush in 2016.
The co-managing partner of Southern California’s Tuttle-Click Automotive Group says he already has raised “a substantial” six-figure sum for Right to Rise, a super PAC expected to back the former Florida governor’s presumed candidacy for the White House in 2016.
And Click says he’s just getting started.
“I’d like to raise him a million dollars,” Click told Automotive News. “I’d like to raise as much as possible.”
See which political party dealers give most to
If politics is war by other means, who are the victims of this war?