>Senators Markey and Blumenthal and Rep. DeGette Urge NHTSA to Remedy 50 Year Old Weak Standard on Deadly Seat Backs


Senators Markey and Blumenthal and Rep. DeGette Urge NHTSA to Remedy 50 Year Old Weak Standard on Deadly Seat Backs

November, 2016s

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

See legislators release below: Original Message From: Barry, Giselle (Markey) <Giselle_Barry@markey.senate.gov> Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2016‎ To: Barry, Giselle (Markey) Subject: Markey, Blumenthal, DeGette to NHTSA: Update 50-Year-Old Seatback Safety Standard to Prevent Fatal Collapse, Investigate Automaker Compliance with Reporting Requirements ‎ FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ‎ Contact: Giselle Barry (Markey) 202-224-2742 Maria McElwain (Blumenthal) 202-224-6452 Lynne Weil (DeGette) 202-225-4431 Markey, Blumenthal, DeGette to NHTSA: Update 50-Year-Old Seatback Safety Standard to Prevent Fatal Collapse, Investigate Automaker Compliance with Reporting Requirements Lawmakers disappointed with automakers’ failure to prevent seatback collapse, notify federal government when death and injuries occur Washington (November 22, 2016) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) today sent a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urging an update to the 50-year-old seat safety standard that can harm or kill backseat passengers when front seatbacks collapse during a rear-end crash. The Center for Auto Safety estimates the seat safety defect leads to the death of at least 50 children per year. The letter from Markey, Blumenthal, and DeGette also asks NHTSA to investigate automakers’ apparent failure, as discovered by the lawmakers’ investigation, to comply with the agency’s Early Warning Reporting (EWR) System requirements to submit information on incidents involving death or injury. Finally, the lawmakers call on NHTSA to strengthen EWR and the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) so that the public can know if seatbacks are involved in injuries and fatalities. In May 2016, Senators Markey and Blumenthal sent letters<http://www.markey.senate.gov/news/press-releases/markey-and-blumenthal-query-automakers-on-seatback-safety> to 16 automakers asking them to respond to questions about vehicle seating systems and known incidents of seatback collapse. Most automakers did not fully or specifically respond to the lawmakers’ questions. The lawmakers’ analysis of the written responses, available records of seatback collapse incidents, and NHTSA’s databases demonstrates: * Although automakers claimed they sufficiently meet or exceed the 50-year-old seatback strength standard, accidents involving seatback collapse that lead to deaths and injuries continue to occur in many vehicle makes and models; * Automakers have not reported all cases of seatback collapse to NHTSA’s Early Warning Reporting (EWR) system as required by federal regulation, and NHTSA has not verified the accuracy or completeness of the EWR data that is submitted; and * Reporting categories in EWR and FARS lack specificity and transparency so that entries relating to incidents of seatback collapse (or other potential safety defects) are easily identifiable. “This standard is clearly out-of-date and must be updated to adequately protect back seat passengers,” write the lawmakers in the letter to NHTSA Director Mark Rosekind. A copy of the letter to NHTSA and the lawmakers’ analysis can be found HERE<http://www.markey.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/NHTSA-FMVSS%20207%20Nov%202016.pdf>. An ongoing investigation by CBS News found 107 cases of seatback collapse across 35 states that resulted in an injury or death over the last 30 years. Several of those cases that should have been reported to EWR weren’t found in the database, which is required by law. Additionally, the Center for Auto Safety found 3,455 injuries and 326 deaths listed in the EWR in which ‘seat’ was a contributing component, but it was impossible to determine whether a seatback collapse occurred because NHTSA does not require and automakers do not provide information sufficient to do so. In the letter, the lawmakers ask NHTSA to, provide copies of all death and injury reports requested by the agency for those injuries and deaths, and to share any police report information. “NHTSA previously indicated that there was not sufficient data on seatback collapse to permit an informed decision on rulemaking action in this area,” write the lawmakers in their analysis. “Information on injuries and fatalities due to seatback collapse would be readily available from police reports, but without a dedicated field in EWR or FARS to methodically collect and organize such information, it is likely that NHTSA will continue to claim the problem of seatback collapse does not exist or is not pervasive enough to change.” ###  

For more info on this tragic dereliction of duty by NHTSA see:https://www.careforcrashvictims.com/blog-seatbackfailuresresponsibility.php
Stop Vehicle Violence!
Lou Lombardo

 

Thankful


Thankful

November, 2016

Dear Care for crash Victims Community Members:

On this Thanksgiving day, some of the people I am especially thankful for having worked with include the following:

* Joan Claybrook

* Clarence Ditlow

* Ralph Nader

* Ben Kelley
* Mike Lemov
* Carl Nash
* Jackie Gillan
* Judith Lee Stone

* Marianne Karth

* Cally Houck

* Stella Gurr
In thanks, here is a single post I just received from Marianne Karth that we should all be thankful for as it encourages us all to continue to do better.  Please see http://annaleahmary.com/2016/11/so-why-arent-we-making-a-bigger-dent-in-tragic-crashes-america-we-can-do-better-than-this/
Lou Lombardo

 

Seat Back Failure Tragedies – Safety Delayed for Decades


Seat Back Failure Tragedies – Safety Delayed for Decades

November, 2016

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

An excellent article in Forbes shows how auto companies have stalled government safety actions for decades – especially during both the Bush and Obama administrations – after the dangers of seat-back failures were made clear.

One illuminating factor in this reporting is that it goes beyond statistics of the deaths, but also addresses the suffering of tragic injuries.  “Thomas Comella and Victoria Thomas have suffered so much already it would be best for them not to know that three legislators are now telling federal regulators that the seat backs in American vehicles are too weak and can easily collapse in rear-impact crashes.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Rep. Diana Degette of Colorado say the failure of seat backs can cause the driver or front-seat passenger to be flung into the back seat, suffering serious injuries or killing a child seated back there.

The Senators say the federal safety standard – adopted in 1972 – must be upgraded.

Comella and Thomas have known that for almost two decades.

It was how their worlds ended.

Comella, 50, was driving a minivan outside of Cleveland in 1999 when traffic slowed. His vehicle was hit from behind. He remembers the impact being slight, similar to getting bumped by one of those Dodgem bumper cars at an amusement park.

But his seat back broke. The seat belt no longer held him because seat belts are designed to keep occupants from being thrown forward. When he hit the back seat he suffered a spinal injury that left him blind and paralyzed except for the very limited use of his arms.”  

Thomas was 19 in 1997 when her car slid backwards into a pole, striking with a force estimated at about 11 miles per hour. The seat back broke. She suffered a spinal injury that paralyzed her legs.

I talked to Comella and Thomas and wrote about seat-back failures 15 years ago when I was covering automotive safety for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland. I’ll post the full story below; but the short version is that way back then seat-back failure was a well-known issue and safety researchers said there were solutions.” See http://www.forbes.com/sites/jensen/2016/11/29/seat-back-collapse-15-years-later-feds-still-fail-to-address-a-deadly-problem/#7f0e4026585b

For more on seat-back failures see https://www.careforcrashvictims.com/blog-deadlyseatbacks.php

Lou

 

Rating Auto Insurance Companies


Rating Auto Insurance Companies

November, 2016

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:
Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports rates auto insurance companies and found USAA, Amica, and NJM had the highest Reader Scores.  See http://www.consumerreports.org/products/car-insurance/ratings-overview/
NY Times

Now the NY Times published an article on auto insurance that gives useful information to consumers citing work created by a crash victim.  The same three auto companies were found to be highly rated.

“There’s a conflict here between shareholders and policyholders,” Mr. Karr said. “We’re showing how companies have run their businesses, and that’s not always in the interest of the policyholder.”

 

The ValChoice study divided the auto insurance market into three types of companies. The largest group — 48.3 percent — are publicly traded corporations like Allstate, Geico (which is part of Warren E. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate) and Progressive.

 

Among mutual companies, there are two different business models. Some companies return earnings to their policyholders in the form of dividends, while others do not pay dividends but keep the earnings at the company.

Mutual companies that do not consistently pay dividends to auto policyholders make up 42.3 percent of the market; Liberty Mutual is one of them.

 

Those that do pay dividends are the smallest subset of the market, with approximately 8 percent, ValChoice said. Also sometimes known as reciprocal insurance exchanges, they include USAA, the Automobile Club of Southern California, Amica Mutual and NJM Insurance….

 

When shopping for insurance, consumers often focus solely on price. Figuring out the differences in claims payment histories at companies is much harder to do because the data is not readily available and requires significant digging to unearth. Analyzing the data, Mr. Karr said, can give consumers a better idea of the value they are receiving for the insurance premiums they pay.

 

“The paid loss ratio is such a direct measure of the actual value of an insurance policy,” said Mr. Karr. “If I’m paying money for insurance, it tells me how much is likely to come back to me if I have an accident.”

In essence, Mr. Karr said, consumers who buy from companies whose claims payments are lower are paying for lesser coverage. That value loss can add up to billions of dollars.

 

Charles M. Chamness, chief executive of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, agreed. “Mutuals exist to serve policyholders and allow management to focus on service and longtime financial security,” he said.

Mr. Karr got the idea to start ValChoice after he was hit by a car and had trouble getting his medical bills paid by insurers.

“When I came away from it, I thought there was a lot people who needed to know about the operating characteristics of these companies,” Mr. Karr said. “People are mandated by law to buy insurance; they should be able to get quality information about what it is they are buying.”  See 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/20/business/the-kind-of-car-insurer-that-gives-consumers-the-best-value.html?emc=eta1

 

ValChoice

You can get a free report on your insurance at ValChoice.  See https://www.valchoice.com/

Lou Lombardo

 

Lifelong Republican Questions Anti – regulation Policies


Lifelong Republican Questions Anti – regulation Policies

November, 2016

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

This is worth reading and heeding.

http://annaleahmary.com/2016/11/lifelong-republican-questions-party-support-of-industry-profit-vs-bipartisan-solutions-to-save-lives/

Lou Lombardo

 

Engineering Paths To Vision Zero Crash Deaths


Engineering Paths To Vision Zero Crash Deaths

November, 2016

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Too many Americans do not yet know about Vision Zero – the magazine that carries valuable information on how much good can be done by engineering safer vehicles.

The January 2017 issue of Vision Zero is available online this Thanksgiving day in America.  See article about Adrian Lund (head of IIHS) written by Byron Bloch at http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/6664faa8#/6664faa8/16

Many worthy articles on how engineers can move us closer to ending vehicle violence thanks to the publisher Tony Robinson and his staff.

Thanks,

Lou

 

End of Daylight Savings Time – Increase Your Safety


End of Daylight Savings Time – Increase Your Safety

November, 2016

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:
You can increase your safety by 10%. 

In 1961, my wife was in a white VW Beetle.  She stalled coming out of a shopping center at night and was struck on the driver side by a car coming over a hill.  The driver swerved to the right and struck the VW just behind the driver side door.  Luckily, my wife was not physically injured but she was  badly shaken.  I had picked white as the color because it would be cooler (no air conditioning). I was not thinking safety back then.

During all my years working on safety I could not get NHTSA to do analyses on fatality rates by car color.  Only after I left NHTSA did researchers in Australia do such research and found that white cars were 10% safer.  Seehttps://www.careforcrashvictims.com/blog-daylaightsavings.php

In 2015, I was pleased to learn that white had become the most popular car color on the planet.  See https://www.careforcrashvictims.com/blog-whitecarsnews.php

For the year 2015, no one can be pleased to learn that NHTSA recorded: *  The Nation saw 2,348 more fatalities from motor vehicle crashes in 2015 than in 2014—a 7.2-percent increase.  For pedestrians and cyclists color is also important for safety.

*  Pedestrian fatalities increased by 466 (a 9.5-percent increase) and are at their highest number since 1996.
*   Pedalcyclist fatalities increased by 89 (a 12.2-percent increase), and are at their highest level since 1995.
Years ago the Federal Highway Administration published a poster for the public with the statistic that 60% of pedestrian fatalities occur between the hours of 6:00pm and 6:00am.  The “Be Safe, Be Bright” poster shows distances at which pedestrians can be seen wearing clothing of different colors – and retro reflective materials.  See https://www.careforcrashvictims.com/besafe.php

Be brighter and be safer.
Lou Lombardo