Predictable Deaths, Injuries, Lo$$es, Moral Bankruptcy and Election Consequences

Predictable Deaths, Injuries, Lo$$es, Moral Bankruptcy and Election Consequences

August, 2015

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Joan Claybrook wrote a letter to the Editor of the Washington Post that was published on August 7, 2015.  In it she wrote pointing to a failure of a Washington Post Editorial. “The July 25 editorial “A bill that ignores the obvious,” about the Senate’s proposed six-year highway funding bill, failed to mention that the bill would roll back numerous truck safety rules and programs, which could result in more deaths and injuries on highways.”

Already, 4,000 people die and 100,000 are injured each year in truck crashes. Such a toll would never be tolerated for airline travel, yet Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) gave the trucking industry what the Transportation Department has rejected: the ability to keep secret the DOT safety ratings of truck companies and removal from the DOT database of crashes that a trucking company claims were not its fault. The bill would permit five-year exemptions from hours-of-service rulesallow drivers ages 18 to 20 to operate in interstate commerce even though the rate of crashes is higher than for older driversand halt the freeze on dangerous double- and triple-trailer vehicles that the public rightfully hates. It also fails to enhance safety measures that senators requested after discovering safety defect cover-ups.

This bill must be rewritten to enhance safety, not degrade it.”  See

Why did Senator John Thune (R-SD) Ignore Safety?
Every year the number of people who die of crash injuries in South Dakota amounts to more than 2 people in every average week – year after year.  See
Senator Thune is currently Chair of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.  As such he currently holds great power to shape safety legislation.  Along with such power comes great responsibility to all Americans.
Senator Thune is up for re-election in 2016 in the Red State of SD.
SD had a worse fatality rate than 41 other States in the U.S.A. in 2013. See attached Excel Spreadsheet “2013NT Crash Fatalities By State Rank” 
Note: the 2013 Crash Fatalities by State show the vast majority of worst States are Red States and the vast majority of safest States were Blue States.  In 2013, the number who died in Red States amounted to 14,013 Americans.   Red State lives matter. The Great Republican Democrat Divide has a long and deadly history in auto safety.
The Moral Bankruptcy of Political Policies of Un-Safety
Perhaps the most egregious episode occurred when Ronald Reagan took office as President in 1981.  He replaced Joan Claybrook as Administrator of NHTSA with a coal industry lobbyist named Raymond A. Peck, Jr.  Under Reagan, the safety standard requiring automatic crash protection (airbags) was rescinded.  And NHTSA personnel were reduced by 33% — 300 safety workers gone by the end of 1982.  To this day, NHTSA is still at the reduced staffing level of 1982.
Since President Reagan took office in 1981, the number of Americans who died of crash injuries (on public roads and within 30 days of the crash) now amounts to more than 1,142,500 people.  About 4 million additional Americans have suffered serious crash injuries such as brain, spinal cord, burns, and amputations.  
Think of the effects on families such as bankruptcy, and children orphaned.  Imagine how many lives would have been saved if Reagan had not become President in 1981. Clearly elections have consequences.
Crash death data by State and Congressional District over the past decade are available to the public at
If only people knew how much of their safety and happiness was dependent upon their actions or in-actions….
For a Safer America,


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