VW Executive Executive Arrested – Held in Munich Without Bail

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

The NY Times’ Jack Ewing reports on German prosecutors action on corporate wrongdoing contributing to the existential threat of Climate Change we all face:

“FRANKFURT — An investigation into Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal expanded significantly on Thursday after German authorities arrested a former high-ranking executive of the carmaker, two people with knowledge of the arrest said.

The executive, identified by German news outlets as Wolfgang Hatz, is a former chief of engine development at Volkswagen. He worked closely with Matthias Müller, now the company’s chief executive, when both were members of the management board of the carmaker’s Porsche unit. Mr. Hatz was being held in Munich without bail.

Mr. Hatz, well known in automotive circles because of his previous role as chief of research and development at Porsche, is the second person to be arrested in Germany in connection with the Volkswagen case and the first German citizen. His prominence signals that the investigation — which has proceeded slowly since the wrongdoing came to light two years ago — may be entering a more intense phase….

“Mr. Hatz was suspended from his position at Porsche soon after Mr. Winterkorn resigned, and he formally left the company in May 2016. Little had been heard about him since then, and he was not among six people indicted by U.S. prosecutors in January.”

See: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/28/business/volkswagen-diesel-cheating.html

Imagine how much safer we all would be if American prosecutors arrested corporate (and government) executives and held them without bail during the 50 years of U.S. “legal” climate change.

See http://www.legalreader.com/50-years-of-legal-climate-change/

Lou Lombardo



50 Years of “Legal” Climate Change

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have brought to public attention that Climate Change is a growing existential threat.
How has this come to be humanity’s current reality?
Having begun my work in air pollution control in the Public Health Service in 1966, I have seen 50 years of “legal” history that informs how this came to be our current reality.
Legal Reader has just published my article documenting historical landmarks that I have observed.

We can and must do better before it is too late for all of us.


Lou Lombardo

Invitation to the 2017 Callaway Awards Ceremony and Reception Honoring Whistle Blowers

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

I am pleased to forward this invitation to an event honoring Whistleblowers.

Invitation to the 2017 Callaway Award Ceremony and Reception
The Shafeek Nader Trust for the Community Interest
cordially invites you to attend the annual
Joe A. Callaway Award for Civic Courage Ceremony and Reception
on Thursday, September 21, 2017
5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Carnegie Institution Building
1530 P Street, NW
Washington, DC

The 2017 Award Recipients

Joel Clement. Upholding the highest standards of his civil service oath as a senior federal official, he blew the whistle on the Trump Administration’s Interior Department for using personnel reassignment to shut down climate change programs, muzzle scientists and undermine subject matter experts.

Megan RiceMichael R. WalliGreg Boertje-Obed. Courageous activists who waged peace against nuclear weapons by taking their non-violent message of conscience inside the highly-guarded Y-12 Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, TN.

Fwd: FW: Letter sent to House Members for tomorrow’s vote on Autonomous Vehicles legislation

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Eric Naing <enaing@saferoads.org>
Date: Tue, Sep 5, 2017 at 3:20 PM
Subject: FW: Letter sent to House Members for tomorrow’s vote on Autonomous Vehicles legislation
To: Eric Naing <enaing@saferoads.org>

Good afternoon,

FYI – the letter below and attached was sent this afternoon to members of the House of Representatives in advance of tomorrow’s House vote on the autonomous vehicle (SELF DRIVE) legislation (H.R. 3388). Please let me know if you would like more information or would like to speak to someone further about this important issue.


Eric Naing

Communications Manager

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

750 First Street, NE

Suite 1130

Washington, DC 20002


(C) 217-493-8294


September 5, 2017

Dear Member of the House of Representatives,

On behalf of our consumer, public health and safety organizations, we would like to provide our views of H.R. 3388, the Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research In Vehicle Evolution Act (SELF DRIVE Act).  This legislation addresses the future development and deployment of autonomous vehicles (AVs) and will be considered by the House of Representatives tomorrow.

Unfortunately, this legislation takes an unnecessary and unacceptable hands-off approach to hands-free driving.  A recent study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology revealed deep public skepticism about AVs.  Only 13 percent of those polled reported that they would be comfortable with vehicle “features that completely relieve the driver of all control for the entire drive.”  Similarly, a Kelly Blue Book survey, released in September 2016, found that nearly 80 percent of respondents believed that people should always have the option to drive themselves, and nearly one in three said they would never buy a level 5 AV.

Any defect or setback involving AVs will severely curtail public acceptance of this technology and risk the progress and promise AVs hold to significantly reduce motor vehicle crashes, fatalities and injuries.  For these reasons, the following issues must be adequately addressed to ensure public safety, security and confidence.

Excessive Numbers of Exempted Vehicles are Permitted and will Jeopardize Safety:  Expanding statutory exemptions from the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) for AVs is both unwarranted and unwise.  As currently drafted, the bill would allow for potentially millions of vehicles on America’s roads that have been exempted from critical FMVSS including those that apply to occupant protection and crashworthiness.  Only 18 months ago, Congress increased allowable exemptions for manufacturers in the FAST Act (Pub. L. 114-94), and this is sufficient for the development and deployment of AVs.

Exemptions from Crashworthiness Standards Should be Prohibited: Any provision allowing for exemptions from crashworthiness standards, no matter the qualification or time line, is an egregious and unacceptable attack on safety.  Autonomous vehicles will be sharing the roads with traditional vehicles for many years to come and will undoubtedly be involved in crashes.  Exposing motorists to the dangers of crashes without proven and needed protections is a wanton disregard for public health and safety.

Essential Data and Public Information About AVs are Needed:  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA) should be required to establish and maintain a current public database for all AVs that contains essential data including but not limited to Safety Assessment Letters, information on the level of automation of each vehicle, exemptions from FMVSS that it is operating under, and the operational design domain with which the AV is equipped. The data collected in the database shall be appended to crash databases maintained by the U.S. Department of Transportation.  Such a database will allow for independent evaluation and research on the real-world performance of AVs.  Furthermore, all non-proprietary communications and responses between the agency and a manufacturer as it relates to any issues involving AVs must be made available for contemporaneous public review, scholarly research and safety analysis by independent stakeholders.

Finally, Congress must ensure that consumers are given essential information about an AV.  Under the current version of this bill, it will be years before NHTSA even completes research before beginning the process to issue a consumer information rule.  Every manufacturer should be required to provide every consumer for every vehicle sold information about its capabilities, limitations and exemptions from federal safety standards.  This information should not be withheld from consumers until NHTSA completes research and finally issues a rule.

Sufficient Funding for NHTSA is Critical: The agency must be given additional funding and staff resources in order to meet the demands being placed on the agency with regard to the advent of AV technology. We recommend the establishment of an office of AV technology within NHTSA with an adequate budget to implement the requirements of this legislation, to assist in the safe introduction of AV technology into the marketplace, and to ensure oversight and accountability.

NHTSA Needs Additional Enforcement Powers:  NHTSA should be given the additional tools of imminent hazard authority to protect against potentially catastrophic defects with AVs and criminal penalties to ensure manufacturers do not willfully and knowingly put defective AVs into the marketplace.


State Preemption is Too Broad:  We share the concerns expressed by associations representing Governors, state legislators and other state officials about the broad and unacceptable preemption language in H.R. 3388.  While we support the statutory mission of NHTSA to regulate the design and performance of motor vehicles to ensure public safety, unless and until NHTSA issues comprehensive standards and regulations to govern AVs, states have every legal right, indeed a duty to their citizens, to fill the regulatory vacuum with state developed proposals and solutions for ensuring public safety.  States must not be precluded from fulfilling their role to protect their citizens.

It is critically important that life-saving technologies be advanced in a safe and expeditious manner.  We believe that AVs will not only change our lifestyles but may, once and for all, change our ability to achieve meaningful and lasting reductions in the death and injury toll on our streets and highways.  However, realizing these goals can only be achieved if Congress enacts legislation that ensures that AVs are developed and deployed in a safe, sensible and transparent manner.


Jacqueline Gillan, President

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

Joan Claybrook, Chair

Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways and

Former Administrator, NHTSA

Jason Levine, Executive Director

Center for Auto Safety

Jack Gillis, Director of Public Affairs

Consumer Federation of America

Sally Greenberg, Executive Director

National Consumers League

Andrew McGuire, Executive Director

Trauma Foundation

John Lannen, Executive Director

Truck Safety Coalition

Hurricanes – Vehicles Under Water – Buyers Beware

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:
Hurricane Harvey 
This latest disaster in an increasingly heating world has consumer financial and safety consequences that will continue long after the sun returns to Houston area.

The Washington Post reports on vehicles underwater:

“Harvey appears to be the most destructive event for cars in the nation’s history, based on early estimates, with floodwaters destroying hundreds of thousands of vehicles in a sprawling city that relies on them for much of its transportation….By Friday, as floodwaters had begun to retreat, insurance adjusters had arrived and they were eyeing the mud-streaked vehicles. The situation was bad: Cars that looked okay were useless under the hood because of destroyed electrical systems. Even with repairs, managers said, the vehicles would be unsafe to drive….

Harvey appears to be the most destructive event for cars in the nation’s history, based on early estimates, with floodwaters destroying hundreds of thousands of vehicles in a sprawling city that relies on them for much of its transportation….

Harvey appears to be the most destructive event for cars in the nation’s history, based on early estimates, with floodwaters destroying hundreds of thousands of vehicles in a sprawling city that relies on them for much of its transportation.”

See https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/storm-flooding-destroyed-hundreds-of-thousands-of-cars-in-a-city-that-relies-heavily-on-them/2017/09/03/1dd22680-90b8-11e7-89fa-bb822a46da5b_story.html?tid=ss_tw-bottom&utm_term=.6e97402133ab

Buyers Beware 
Kelley Blue Book Editors reports:
“Scrap itOwners should take a page from Mike Jackson, CEO of auto retailing giant AutoNation, who said his group will be scrapping all the flooded vehicles in inventory. “Any time you get a flood level in a vehicle above a foot or two, you really should scrap the vehicle,” Jackson told CNBC’s Squawk Box. “The damage that’s done to the electrical systems in these high-tech cars—just forget about it. They’re all going to have to be replaced….”“In the flood’s aftermath, insurances companies decide the fate of affected vehicles. Many are written-off, branded as flood damaged and sold for salvage. However some will hit the roadways once again – slowly deteriorating from the inside out – and due to a tactic called “title washing”, you might never know you’re driving one….In the flood’s aftermath, insurances companies decide the fate of affected vehicles. Many are written-off, branded as flood damaged and sold for salvage. However some will hit the roadways once again – slowly deteriorating from the inside out – and due to a tactic called “title washing”, you might never know you’re driving one.Laundering the ownership trail

Title washing occurs when a vehicle’s title is branded in one state – for example, as “flood” damaged – but then transported to another state that may have different criteria for title branding. Due to these slight differences, certain vehicles branded as flood damaged in one state may receive a clean title in another.”….

Dig history

The best defense is a good offense–go online and buy a vehicle history report. These comprehensive overviews can be accessed from sites like Experian’s AutoCheck, and will track important information including title branding and registration over the vehicle’s life, regardless of where the vehicle is registered.

Other helpful tools include the Department of Justice’s National Motor Vehicle Title Information System as well as the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s VINCheck service, which is free to use. VINCheck compiles data from insurers and allows consumers to see whether a vehicle has ever been declared a total loss or salvaged.”

Safety consequences for owners and all other road users are to be determined in the years ahead.
Lou Lombardo

GAO Finds Federal Vehicle Data Privacy Policy – “Unclear”

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:


The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the “NHTSA Needs to Define Its Role”.  GAO recommends that NHTSA


“define, document, and externally communicate its roles and responsibilities related to the privacy of data generated by and collected from vehicles.”

For GAO Report details see:

“August 28, 2017

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today released the following:


Vehicle Data Privacy: Industry and Federal Efforts Under Way but NHTSA Needs to Define Its Role
GAO-17-656, July 28

Report: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-17-656

Highlights: http://www.gao.gov/assets/690/686285.pdf

Lou Lombardo