Thanks to Ralph Nader!

Thanks to Ralph Nader!

November, 2015

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

On this Thanksgiving Day, the NY Times published an excellent and timely article on auto safety.

“50 Years Ago, “Unsafe At Any Speed” Shook the Auto World notes:“On Nov. 30, 1965, “Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile” was published. The first sentence did not mince words: “For over half a century the automobile has brought death, injury and the most inestimable sorrow and deprivation to millions of people.” …. “If you just simply focus on things like the death toll, clearly the act has been a success,” said Clarence M. Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, which was founded in 1970 by Mr. Nader and Consumers Union, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group.”  See

Today, even NHTSA, although a largely captive agency,recognizes the statistics of lives saved by its standards and programs over the years.Lives saved from 1960 to 2012: Safety technologies saved an estimated 613,501 lives from 1960 through 2012″  See p. xix at

Thanks to Ralph Nader, Joan Claybrook, Clarence Ditlow and all the people they inspired to save lives and prevent serious injuries over the past 5 decades!  See

Yet there is much more to do.   Currently in the U.S., Americans lose about 100 lives, suffer about 400 serious injuries, and losses valued by DOT at about $2 Billion every average day due to injuries in autos.

With all three branches of the Federal government in varying degrees of corporate captivity, continuing progress in advancing safety is proving difficult.  

At a time in history when we have more safety technologies and safety science than ever before, we still lack even a national Vision Zero goal for auto deaths and serious injuries.


A Safety Victory

A Safety Victory

November, 2015


November 18, 2015


Ryan Taylor (Wicker), 202-224-6253

Dean Lieberman (Feinstein), 202-224-9629

Senate Votes to Remove Bigger Trucks Mandate From Transportation Appropriations Bill

Sens. Wicker, Feinstein Successful Again in Putting Chamber on Record Opposing Longer Double Trucks

 WASHINGTON – The Senate today voted in favor of an amendment offered by U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to remove a federal mandate from the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill, H.R. 2577, that would force states to allow large trucks to pull double 33-foot trailers. The Wicker-Feinstein amendment was adopted by a voice vote.

 “A recent independent poll revealed that 77 percent of Americans oppose twin 33-foot trailer trucks on the nation’s highways and byways,” Wicker said. “The Senate stands with this overwhelming majority and with the 38 states who have said ‘no’ to these longer double trailers. This is a victory for public safety, states’ rights, and hard-working taxpayers.”

“Allowing the monstrous twin-33 trucks on our highways without a full understanding of the safety implications would be irresponsible and dangerous,” Feinstein said. “In my view, such a sweeping change runs counter to all notions of public safety and has no place in an appropriations bill. Senator Wicker and I were successful in stripping the language from the transportation funding bill on the floor today. Under our amendment, the Department of Transportation must complete a safety study before any changes to truck length are considered. This is a big win for public safety. I thank the coalition of law enforcement, victims groups, unions and the trucking industry that came together and said no to bigger, more dangerous trucks.”

 For the second time in as many weeks, the Senate has gone on record opposing this federal mandate. Last week, the Senate passed a motion to instruct conferees on the highway reauthorization bill that also sought to remove the mandate.      

 Earlier this year, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved an amendment to the transportation funding bill requiring states to allow trucks with two 33-foot trailers on their highways. A tractor trailer with two 33-foot trailers measures approximately 91 feet in total length – equivalent to an 8-story office building. Currently, 38 states do not allow these longer trucks to operate within their jurisdictions. One study estimates that twin 33s would put more wear and tear on our nation’s roads, adding $1.2 billion to $1.8 billion in maintenance costs per year.

 When the committee considered the measure, the Department of Transportation (DOT) advised that there is currently not enough data to draw firm conclusions on the safety implications of double 33-foot trailers. DOT recommended that no changes to truck size be considered at this time.

 Specifically, the Wicker-Feinstein amendment would require DOT to complete a comprehensive safety study before longer trucks are permitted on highways. It would also require the agency to conduct a formal rulemaking process with public notice and comment period.

 Groups supporting the Wicker-Feinstein amendment opposing twin 33-foot trailers include Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the American Automobile Association, the Teamsters Union, the Truckload Carriers Association, the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks,several state trucking associations, the National Troopers Coalition, and other law enforcement associations throughout the country.


Purposes of Tort Law Missed by Judge in GM Ignition Switch Coverup

Purposes of Tort Law Missed by Judge in GM Ignition Switch Coverup

November, 2015

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Ralph Nader describes three purposes of Tort Law:“the three purposes of tort law. One is to compensate people for their injuries; the second is to disclose facts so the press picks up and publicizes the story alerting people about what to avoid, how to shop, and what their rights are; and the third is deterrence so other companies or other providers or vendors get the idea that maybe it’s better—and cheaper—to be safe than unsafe with your customers.”  See

An Insurance Journal article describes a ruling by Judge Furman as follows:

“General Motors Co. and its law firm need not turn over privileged documents to drivers hoping to show that the automaker intended to commit a crime or fraud by concealing defective ignition switches in their vehicles, a Manhattan federal judge ruled on Nov. 25.

Despite finding “probable cause” to believe GM committed a crime or fraud by hiding the defect from regulators and the public, U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman found no showing that the automaker and King & Spalding produced the documents with an intent to further such misconduct.

Most of the documents related to the law firm’s advice from 2010 to 2013 on three crashes involving Chevrolet Cobalts. Vehicle owners said the deception justified a waiver of attorney-client privilege.

“Put simply, plaintiffs do not provide a factual basis for a good faith belief that the communications and work product they seek – let alone any particular communications or work product they seek – were made with the intent to further a crime or fraud,” Furman wrote.”  See

You be the judge.  Did Judge Furman meet the three tests?  Compensation?  Disclosure?  Deterrence?

Who is Judge Furman? 

“Furman’s brother Jason Furman serves as an economic adviser to President Barack Obama.[5]”


Should Judge Furman have ruled differently for crash victims past, present, and future?  Will there be more victims?  Less compensation?  Less deterrence?

You be the Jury in the Court of Public Opinion.


Despite Polls FOR Safety, Pols Work AGAINST Safety

Despite Polls FOR Safety, Pols Work AGAINST Safety

November, 2015

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:
1.  Crash Victims Work for and Petition for Safety:
A petition was created by Cally Houck, a mother who tragically lost two daughters in a vehicle rented with a fatal defect.  The petition has nearly 200,000 signatures.  See it and sign it at

2.   Polls Show Support FOR Safety:



>> Support Criminal Penalties for Corporate Auto and Equipment Executives who Cover Up Dangerous Safety Defects


>>  Support Car Dealers Being Required to Repair Recalled Used and Loaner Cars Before Consumers Drive Away

>> Oppose Teen Truck and Bus Drivers in Interstate Traffic and

>> Oppose Oversized Double Trailer Trucks on Our Nation’s Roads and Highways


Washington, D.C. (November 17, 2015) – Right now, Members of the House and Senate are racing to finish negotiations on a multi-billion dollar six-year surface transportation bill, known as the DRIVE Act (H.R. 22) and the annual spending bill for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)(H.R. 3488). These critically important bills not only will set transportation policies and funding levels for the construction and repair of highways, bridges and transit systems but they will also have a deadly impact on safety if changes are not made. Decisions about how safe or how dangerous our roads and highways will be are being made this week. Even though the bills will be paid for by taxpayers, anti-safety special interests aided by their friends in Congress have succeeded in carving corporate earmarks, industry giveaways and special exemptions from safety rules, all at the expense of public safety. 

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) commissioned a public opinion poll to gauge public support and opposition for a few of the critical motor vehicle and motor carrier safety issues at stake in the DRIVE Act and transportation appropriations bill. The poll was taken this past weekend and shows very strong levels of public support for safety positions across all categories including age, gender, religion, race, income, education and political party affiliation. Below is a summary of the poll findings. The complete findings of the poll are available at

3.  Some Officials Work AGAINST Safety

“WASHINGTON — Buried deep within a massive transportation bill that passed the House of Representatives is a little-noticed provision that won’t have much effect on highway projects, but is of great interest to automobile dealers.

The provision, an amendment offered just before midnight on Nov. 11, would allow dealers to rent or loan out vehicles even if they are subject to safety recalls. Rental car companies, meanwhile, don’t get the same treatment under the proposed law.

In essence, the amendment would allow an auto dealer to loan you a vehicle under active recall while you are getting your own fixed for the same defect.

The man who offered the amendment is no stranger to car dealerships. In fact, that’s his business. U.S. Rep.Roger Williams, R-Austin, sponsored the amendment. In introducing it on the floor of the House, he noted, “I am a second-generation auto dealer. I have been in the industry most of my life. I know it well.”

The possibility that his action might be considered a conflict of interest was apparently not on his mind, though it certainly occurred to others.”


Paul Ryan Speaker of….

Paul Ryan Speaker of….

November, 2015

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Will Paul Ryan speak for crash victims?

Over the period 2004 – 2013, in the Congressional District he currently represents, the number of crash deaths amounted to 729 people.  That record averaged more than one crash death per week over a decade in just the District he has “represented” all those years.   His record of crash deaths and that of crash deaths in every representative’s district are publicly available free to all at

The NY Times Editorial Board wrote about the legislation at the Speaker’s current attention.  The editorial is titled “The Bill That Would Make Roads Less Safe”.  See

We will soon see who Speaker Ryan speaks for.