Will the Congress and DOT and NHTSA Protect Americans?

Will the Congress and DOT and NHTSA Protect Americans?

June, 2015

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Senate Hearings on Takata airbag defects and DOT OIG report on NHTSA is scheduled for Tuesday June 23, 2015.  The Chair of the Committee is Senator John Thune of South Dakota.  See his bio at http://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Chairman The Hearing will be webcast to the public.  Witnesses scheduled are at http://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Hearings&ContentRecord_id=a3504ffe-d343-4cff-a73a-2de3f877101c&ContentType_id=14f995b9-dfa5-407a-9d35-56cc7152a7ed&Group_id=b06c39af-e033-4cba-9221-de668ca1978a

Resources for Hearing 
Free interactive resources to the public and media on crash deaths in each Senator’s State for the years 2002 – 2011 are available at:http://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=71c3bb8008ae4682ab0a36f090a2b443&extent=-161.4739,21.4327,-63.388,54.2524
For example, in Senator Thune’s State of South Dakota readers will find that on average over the years about 2 to 3 people die of crash injuries each week in South Dakota.
In South Dakota, year after year, more than 60% of people who die of crash injuries are not taken to any facility for emergency medical care. For South Dakota and NHTSA data on all other States see https://www.careforcrashvictims.com/assets/2012-00872-FATALITIES.PDF
For 2013 data on crash fatalities and fatality rates for each State see data and rankings attached.  South Dakota is among the 10 worst States.  SC, AR, OK, AL, WV, ND, MS, and MT (in that order) had worse fatality rates in 2013.
Issues – Money, People, Vision and Policies

Money – The Detroit News recently reported:“NHTSA is bracing for what are expected to be scathing reports into the General Motors recall from the inspector general and Government Accountability Office. The Inpector General’s report into NHTSA’s failure to detect GM’s delayed recall of 2.6 million vehicles linked to 114 deaths and more than 200 injuries is expected by the end of this month.

The Department of Transportation’s probe “raises more questions” for Senate investigators about NHTSA’s effectiveness in addressing safety defects — including the probe of defective airbags, the aide said.

The hearing is the second from Congress in the last month following a House hearing last month. It is the first major Senate hearing on auto safety since Republicans took control of the upper body in January.

The committee’s chairman, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said in a Detroit News interview last week he is considering legislative proposals to reform NHTSA, but said he is still not convinced the auto safety agency needs more funding.

Thune said “the White House has not been very visible” on the NHTSA request for more funding.

In an interview Tuesday, Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said he hasn’t made any decisions about whether he will propose auto safety legislation. He backed an amendment to the House Transportation budget last week that would add $4 million to NHTSA’s budget.

“We want to make sure that (NHTSA) is able to deliver,” Upton said.”

Reuters this weekend addressed the forthcoming DOT OIG :“The report, due to be released next week, follows an uproar over faulty General Motors Co ignition switches tied to more than 110 deaths and defective Takata Corp air bag inflators linked to at least eight deaths.

It also comes at a time when Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind are pressing Congress to increase NHTSA’s funding and enforcement powers, including another $20 million for defect investigations budget that has been stuck at $10 million for nearly a decade.”  See 


Regarding money issues, a yardstick resource for the media and public is the official DOT Policy Guidance value of a statistical life of $9.1 million per life.  See attached VSL Guidance from DOT.
People – Who will be protected?  Past, present, and future crash victims?  Or others?  Crash victims attorneys recently sought to depose former NHTSA Administrator and former Senate Commerce Committee staffer David L. Strickland who has gone through the DOT Revolving Door. See https://www.careforcrashvictims.com/assets/2015-03-05JamesButlertoSarahSorgatNHTSAOfficeofCounselredepoofStrickland.pdf
Let’s keep in mind that currently each day, nearly 100 Americans die of crash injuries, and about 400 more suffer serious crash injuries, and the value of losses are estimated to be about $2 Billion per day in the U.S.A.  Day after day after day without end in sight.  See U.S.A. Crash Death Clock and Crash Death Meters.  They are available free at  https://www.careforcrashvictims.com/clock.php
Vision – Let us also keep in mind that never before in the history of mankind have we had more technology available to end deaths and serious injuries – forever.  We the people need to demand that our federal government officials adopt a Vision Zero policy.  See https://www.careforcrashvictims.com/assets/MonthlyReportforFebruary2015.pdf “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18
Policies – On this Father’s Day, President Obama and Members of Congress should read the Op Ed in the NY Times on Weak Oversight, Deadly Cars.  Seehttp://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/29/opinion/weak-oversight-deadly-cars.html Then adopt “Free NHTSA” policies that: * Shut the Revolving Door * Reassign NHTSA executives who are from the auto industry and still in charge of programs vital to saving American lives.
* Create a National Commission on Auto Safety to End Crash Deaths and Serious Injuries In or By New Vehicles manufactured after the year 2020 (The Volvo Vision Zero Goal).
Those steps would be commensurate with a national crash death problem that has already cost 3 times more American lives lost than in all wars since 1776.  And a crash injury problem that has resulted in 500 times more Americans injured in crashes than have been wounded in all wars since 1776.
End the Car Safety War tragedies now, please.  We can do it.  Yes we can.


Leave a Reply