NHTSA Chief Counsel Under Obama Goes Through Revolving Door To Guess Where

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Paul Hemmersbaugh has become Chief Counsel and Public Policy Director of GM’s Transportation as a Service.  See https://www.linkedin.com/in/paul-hemmersbaugh-099ab210a/

Ironically, the Campaign for Accountability recently wrote to Hemmersbaugh at NHTSA about compromised ethics and the Revolving Door. See attached letter.

After serving as NHTSA Chief Counsel during the surge of crash fatalities to over 250,000 fatalities during the Obama Administration, should anyone be thankful for his service?

A song that captures what is wrong with politics is “The Country is in the very best of hands”.  See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwqPBlSxb-0

The incoming corporate cabinet portending many more deaths is also no laughing matter!  See http://corporatecabinet.org/
Lou Lombardo

Endangering America’s Safety and Happiness – Again

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

The Revolving Door

Here they go again.

In 2014, I wrote “Who is Responsible for the Last Decade of Crash Deaths?” Second on the list was Jeffrey A. Rosen, who served in the George W. Bush Administration.
See https://www.careforcrashvictims.com/assets/CFCV-MonthlyReport-March2014.pdf

President Trump has now nominated Jeffrey A. Rosen to be Deputy Secretary of Transportation. More on his background is available at

Jeffrey A. Rosen, Trump Nominee to be Deputy Secretary of Department of Transportation

Our Safety and Happiness

From automotive air pollution emissions that currently result in early deaths and ultimately the planet we are not likely to be protected, but further harmed.

From automotive safety regulations, to auto defect recalls, to product liability protections, we face less consumer protection and justice.

Shining The Light

The Washington Post has added a truth of life or death importance to its Mast Head: “Democracy Dies in Darkness”.

So too do Americans die in darkness every day in the U.S.A. today. Crash victims at the rate of 100 Americans per day. Americans also suffer an estimated 145 early deaths per day from automotive emissions, and 548 early deaths per day from all air pollutants combined. See http://www.legalreader.com/presidents-livable-environment/

So to help Americans defend themselves we offer the following accountability tools:

* Trump Crash Death Clock
* Trump Crash Injury Clock
* Trump Early Death Air Pollution Clock
* Trump Early Death Auto Air Pollution Clock

* Crash Death Mapping Tools with crash deaths for each year 2002 – 2015 by Congressional District and by State.

These are available free (with attribution) at https://www.careforcrashvictims.com/trump-clocks/ and at https://www.careforcrashvictims.com/home/crash-death-mapping-tools/

Hopefully these tools help people defend themselves.

Lou Lombardo

Jeffrey A. Rosen, Trump Nominee to be Deputy Secretary of Department of Transportation

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Senate Committee Hearing Schedule:  March 29, 2017 at 2:30.

See Committee announcement and questionnaire at  http://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/hearings?ID=C3F21EAE-E078-4039-8FA9-24080D11E294

Consumer groups are concerned about this nomination.  See attached background report.

Lou Lombardo

Safety Advocates Challenge FTC Decision Allowing General Motors and Car Dealerships to Engage in False Advertising of Unrepaired Recalled “Certified” Used Cars

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Please see following press release and documents filed in court by citizen groups trying to save American lives.

Auto Safety / Consumer Organizations Sue Federal Trade Commission Over Decision Allowing General Motors and Car Dealerships to Engage in False Advertising of Unrepaired Recalled “Certified” Used Cars

NEWS for immediate release: February 6, 2017
.PDF of Release

Contacts: Rosemary Shahan, CARS, 530-759-9440
Michael Brooks, CAS, 202-328-7700 x 113

Auto Safety / Consumer Organizations Sue Federal Trade Commission, Over Decision Allowing General Motors and Car Dealerships to Engage in False Advertising of Unrepaired Recalled “Certified” Used Cars

Today, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS), the Center for Auto Safety, U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), MASSPIRG, CONNPIRG, and CALPIRG filed a legal case seeking to have an appellate court review and overturn the Federal Trade Commission’s consent orders with General Motors, Lithia Motors, and Jim Koons Management Co., which would allow them to advertise that cars with unrepaired safety recalls are “safe,” “repaired for safety,” passed a “rigorous inspection,” and qualified to be sold as “certified” cars – without getting safety recall repairs performed, if the companies merely provide a contradictory, confusing, misleading, disclaimer that the cars “may” be subject to a safety recall.

The FTC’s Consent Orders set a de-facto standard for the auto industry that allows dealers to deceptively advertise cars with dangerous and potentially lethal safety defects that have killed and maimed people.  Many of those defects jeopardize the lives of not only used car buyers, but also passengers and everyone else who shares the roads and adjacent areas, including sidewalks, driveways and parking lots.

“We’re optimistic that the Court will rein in the FTC’s dangerous and irresponsible abuse of its authority. Instead of protecting consumers, the FTC is protecting unscrupulous auto dealers who engage in false and deceptive advertising about the safety of the cars they offer for sale to the public. This is a serious threat to used car buyers, their families, and all who share the roads,” said Rosemary Shahan, President of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety.

“Even if there is a 100% certainty that an unrepaired safety recall defect will immediately kill anyone who buys a so-called ‘certified’ car and their family, the FTC would allow car dealers to advertise that car as ‘safe’ and ‘repaired for safety,’” said Michael Brooks, Acting Director of the Center for Auto Safety. “Clearly the Court should intervene and force the FTC to reverse itself.”

“The Federal Trade Commission is supposed to crack down on false and deceptive advertising. Instead, they are encouraging it,” said Deirdre Cummings, Legislative Director of MASSPIRG. “They should have protected consumers but chose to protect reckless car dealers.”

The FTC’s Consent Order is already putting motorists at greater risk of death or injury. According to a recent report in the New York Times,  “Until [the FTC entered into consent orders with GM, Lithia and Koons] every major car company had said that they forbade their dealers from selling certified used vehicles with any open recalls, including ones for Takata airbags.  [But] “with the F.T.C. settlement for cover…Ford broke ranks, issuing an update to dealers on its ‘enhanced’ recall process and giving them permission to certify used vehicles that had open recalls after all.”

Citing the FTC’s Consent Order and the election of an anti-regulation President Trump,  AutoNation (the largest new car dealership chain in the U.S.) reversed its policy of ensuring that all used cars are repaired prior to sale to consumers, and now also allows its new car dealers to sell unrepaired recalled cars, including cars with Takata airbags that cannot be made safe, because of severe shortages of repair parts.

“Certified” cars are supposedly subject to rigorous inspections, and dealers and manufacturers charge an average of approximately $1200 extra for them.  Consumers are led to believe the cars have not only been inspected, but that any significant problems have been repaired.

The FTC sought public comments regarding its proposed consent agreements with GM, Lithia and Koons.  All the consumer / safety organizations who filed comments strenuously opposed the Consent Orders, as did nearly all of the individual consumers. The groups followed up with in-person meetings with the Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection and each of the Commissioners, urging them to reconsider and modify the agreements to prohibit false advertising, instead of allowing it, or drop the FTC’s actions against the companies altogether, since the agency’s proposed “solution” would be worse than nothing.

In a scathing letter to the FTC, Senators Schumer, Durbin, Nelson, Blumenthal, and Markey, leading champions of auto safety in the U.S. Senate, termed the FTC’s consent orders with GM, Lithia and Koons as “anti-safety” and “anti-consumer.”  U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky, the leading Congressional champion of auto safety in the U.S. House, also sent a strongly worded letter urging the Chairwoman of the FTC, Edith Ramirez, to reconsider.

To his credit, auto dealer Earl Stewart, who owns a large Toyota dealership in West Palm Beach, Florida, has refused to sell recalled vehicles that he cannot get fixed, stockpiling them on a remote lot miles from his main showroom. He even sued a rival, Arrigo Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, who he believes is selling recalled cars without disclosing that they have not been fixed. His lawsuit recently made it over a major potential hurdle, surviving Arrigo’s motion to have it dismissed.

Last December, the FTC proposed a similar consent agreement with CarMax and the Asbury and West-Herr car dealership chains.  CarMax is the largest retailer of used cars in the nation.  The CARS Foundation, MASSPIRG, CONNPIRG, and CALPIRG have released detailed reports documenting CarMax’s deceptive sales of unrepaired recalled cars as “certified” cars that supposedly passed a “rigorous inspection” and qualified to be sold as a “CarMax Quality Certified” car.  The groups also filed comments opposing those consent orders, which have not yet been finalized.

Among the defects in cars sold by CarMax: catching on fire, faulty brakes, wheels that fall off, axles that break, hoods that fly up while the car is being driven, transmissions that slip so the cars slide downhill and crush people, seat belts that fail in a crash, and Takata airbags that propel metal fragments at drivers and passengers – causing them to bleed to death, or causing severe injuries such as blindness. Citing the high risk of death or injury, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has warned owners of many of those vehicles not to drive them, except to the dealership for recall repairs.  While CarMax says it tells car buyers to get recalls repaired, for many purchasers of cars with the Takata exploding airbag recalls, that advice would be misleading, because it may be months, or even years, before repair parts are available.

State laws prohibit dealers from engaging in such practices. However, some of those laws may not be enforced until after someone has already been injured or killed. Victims of dealers who sold unrepaired recalled cars, or their surviving family members, have sued dealers for wrongs such as negligence or wrongful death, and have received confidential settlements. One similar case, where two sisters, Raechel and Jacqueline Houck, were killed by an unrepaired recalled PT Cruiser, resulted in a unanimous jury verdict awarding $15 million in compensatory damages.

Despite progress made in improving vehicle design, motor vehicle crashes remain a leading cause of death and injury in America, particularly among children, teenagers, and young adults in the U.S. According to NHTSA,  “The Nation lost 35,092 people in crashes on U.S. roadways during 2015,” and another 2.44 million people were injured.

“Motor vehicle crashes impose a staggering human and economic toll in the United States.  The price tag for crashes comes at a heavy burden for Americans at $871 billion in economic loss and societal harm. This includes $277 billion in economic costs – nearly $900 for each person living in the United States based on calendar year 2010 data – and $594 billion in harm from the loss of life and the pain and decreased quality of life due to injuries.”

The organizations are represented by the public interest law firm of Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks LLP in Washington, D.C.

#     #     #

Related Content

Click here to view the Petition for Review – 2/6/17

FTC Sells Out Consumers & Justice Department in Consent Order Allowing GM to Sell Certified Used Cars With Outstanding Safety Recalls

CAS Letter to US Attorney Preet Bharara – 8/25/16

Consumer Groups, et. al Comments on Proposed Consent Agreement – 2/29/16

FTC Federal Register Notice: Proposed Consent Agreement – 2/3/16

FTC Documents

GM, Jim Koons Management, and Lithia Motors Inc. Settle FTC Actions Charging That Their Used Car Inspection Program Ads Failed to Adequately Disclose Unrepaired Safety Recalls – 1/28/16

CarMax and Two Other Dealers Settle FTC Charges That They Touted Inspections While Failing to Disclose Some of the Cars Were Subject to Unrepaired Safety Recalls – 12/16/16

Congress

Congresswoman Janice Schakowsky Letter to FTC – 9/12/16

U.S. Senators’ Letter to NHTSA Administrator and FTC Chairwoman – 7/14/16

News

Buyer Beware: ‘Certified’ Used Cars May Still Be Under Recall – 12/16/2016

Feds criticized for allowing GM to sell recalled cars – 8/26/16

Legal Reader Posts Article on 2017 Car Book

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Legal Reader has published an article on the Car Book 2017.

See it at http://www.legalreader.com/protect-yourselves-2017-car-book-for-consumers-available/

This potentially life saving information will help readers protect themselves in an increasingly “you’re on your own” world.

Lou Lombardo

Health Care Legislation = Many More Americans to Die

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

This President and this Congress are now trying to repeal and perhaps replace the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” or “Obamacare” with “Trumpcare”.

Time to examine where we are now and where we may soon be in the future.

Many More Americans to Expected to Die

The Congressional Budget Office has issued its report on the proposed American Health Care Act.

in 2018, 14 million more people would be uninsured under the legislation than under current law.”

“In 2026, an estimated 52 million people would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law.”

How Many People Die Each Year From Lack of Health Insurance?

“Depending upon the study, we can derive that between 20,000 and 45,000 Americans die each year due to a lack of health insurance.”

 
Red State vs. Blue State Analyses Point to More Deaths in Red States

Vehicle Violence Deaths and Death Rates have also revealed that people in Red States suffer more than people in Blue States.  See

http://www.fairwarning.org/2017/02/top-traffic-death-states-support-trump/

http://www.fairwarning.org/2012/11/traffic-deaths-a-surprising-dimension-of-the-red-state-blue-state-divide/

If we extend these analyses to include 2015 Medicaid Status and Percent Uninsured in each State we find that Blue States have more Medicaid coverage and fewer percentage of people without insurance and generally lower death rates.

The attached spreadsheet shows that the 13 best States are Blue and have lowest fatality rates, Medicaid coverage, and percent uninsured under 10%.

The attached spreadsheet shows that the 14 worst States are Red and have the highest fatality rates, only 6 States have Medicaid coverage, and 10 States have percent uninsured over 10%.

We can estimate that for each vehicle fatality there are an additional 4 serious injuries (e.g. brain and spinal cord injuries) where Medicaid and health insurance will be vitaly important.

Members of Congress should not let their constituents just die.  They have a duty to protect us all.

Lou Lombardo

The Deadly Wrong Strategy for A Livable Environment

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

The NY Times just reported on the Trump Administration’s EPA plans which will worsen two existential threats we all face: Climate Change and Public Health effects of air pollution.

See https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/07/us/politics/scott-pruitt-environmental-protection-agency.html

Also today Legal Reader published an article I wrote about my history as an EPA Whistle Blower during the Nixon Administration.  See

http://www.legalreader.com/presidents-livable-environment/

Lou Lombardo