NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman – One Year and 30,000 Lives Lost Later
Nearly one year ago we met for the first time at the beginning of a NHTSA led FICEMS public meeting. I introduced myself and asked about the prospects for positive changes for safety at NHTSA. You smiled broadly and said “I am happy.” I returned to my seat to await my 5 minute opportunity to speak with a deep sense of disappointment.
Here we are today, nearly one year, 30,000 crash deaths, and more than 100,000 serious crash injuries, later. After regularly emailing you all my blog posts and reports and my petitions only to be unanswered by NHTSA, I sadly regret to note that I have tried to inform you of the public’s safety needs and potential positive actions you could take.
Little did I know at that time that Administrator Strickland was about to resign and take a job with the corporate law firm Venable, that has done work for Chrysler, leaving you as Acting NHTSA Administrator. His resignation came just after a questionable agreement with Chrysler on the Jeep Recall for gas tanks exploding in fiery crashes.
This week you may be testifying before the Senate Commerce Committee facing many difficult questions that probably will not make you “happy” — nor anyone else happy. I say this not in a sense of gloating, but in a deep sense of regret that my citizen efforts have not been sufficient to avoid this state of affairs for the American people. “Told you so.” are bitter words of disappointment to express. I wish I were in a position to express better words to say such as “Bravo! Job well done!”
As my mother taught me “Next time better.” Hopefully, in your remaining days at NHTSA you can do better. The American people certainly need you to do better. Many more lives and livelihoods depend on it.