Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:
Too Little, Too late, for Too Many Americans
* President Obama’s popularity hits new low. No surprise to our readers. So far under President Obama’s watch more Americans died of their crash injuries than died in the Korean, Viet Nam, Iraq, and Afghanistan Wars – combined. See http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/post-abc-news-poll-shows-democrats-at-risk-in-november-as-obamas-approval-rating-falls/2014/04/28/2a448b04-cf07-11e3-b812-0c92213941f4_story.html
* DOT Secretary Foxx again fails to protect Americans from cars with defects.
“Foxx declined to comment directly on a request by Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., to urge GM to tell its owners of unrepaired recalled cars for ignition switch problems. Foxx said he would respond directly to the senators and said he is aware of the issue. Last month, he declined to urge owners to stop driving, saying they should follow GM’s advice to only use the ignition key….”
* Acting NHTSA Administrator David Friedman attempting to sound strong said:
“Whether traveling by motor vehicle, walking or bicycling, we are committed to ensuring that Americans reach their destinations safely. Our approach will continue to support both safer behavior and safer vehicles to prevent deaths and injuries on our roadways,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman. “As the nation’s top regulator of the automotive industry, we hold manufacturers accountable for defect and compliance issues regarding their products and are seeking to further our ability to do so in the future, including increasing civil penalty limits nearly 10 times to $300 million.”
From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140429/AUTO01/304290068#ixzz30JIjmYze
These are not executive actions; just proposals. Will the Congress act? Will the fines be tax deductible?
Mr. Friedman, again attempting to sound strong, says his approach is “to support both safer behavior and safer vehicles.” The safer behavior he is referring to is not his behavior, nor NHTSA behavior — it is driver behavior. The reality is the NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation budget is about $10 million per year. Traffic Safety Grants budget for behavior programs is about $500 million per year. See 2014 Budget Overview attached.
More Words to Sound Strong – Not Executive Actions
“Foxx unveiled a four-year $302 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill that would use revenue from corporate tax reform — rather than higher gas taxes — to rebuild “crumbling roads and bridges while providing much-needed certainty for local and state governments and addressing the country’s future needs.”
From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140429/AUTO01/304290068#ixzz30KIlX0NU
How To Get Safety Actions?
Imagine members of Congress and safety groups withholding support for the surface transportation bill until safety actions are taken by President Obama, Secretary Foxx, and NHTSA Acting Administrator Friedman.
Imagine citizens demanding effective auto safety actions to achieve the Vision Zero goal of no deaths in or by a new vehicle by the year 2024. That’s the goal set by Volvo and Mayor de Blasio for NYC.
Imagine safety groups and the media presenting compelling crash death data by State and Congressional district for the past decade.
We can, and must, get these officials to behave as public servants — not corporate servants in key NHTSA positions and coming and going though the DOT Revolving Door.
Access Associated Documents:
1 – NHTSA Budget Overview 2014