Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:
Consumer Reports has launched a safety initiative with huge life saving potential.
The need for such information on the crash to save lives was impressed upon me in the 1990’s.
After working for more than a decade to help get airbag crash protection into cars, I was managing a NHTSA project in which we were investigating crashes, injuries, medical treatments, and outcomes at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami Florida.
Our second crash (case #91-002) was a horrendous 55 mph Delta V, multiple impact, crash of a 1991 Volvo with airbags.
The driver was not belted and the fatal internal injuries were “occult” i.e. not obviously reflective of the crash severity which only became clear after a full crash investigation had been performed. See
This crash gave NHTSA the insights that airbags were giving the emergency medical community a different, more subtle, set of injury indicators known as occult injuries.
In the late 1990s, under the leadership of Administrator Ricardo Martinez and later Administrator Jeffrey W. Runge, both Emergency Physicians, NHTSA created the Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network (CIREN) program which aimed at improving all aspects of auto safety. See two NHTSA reports that I worked on
When I was handing out the final Report one morning to the Principal Investigator from the Michigan CIREN Center before anyone else had arrived, I remarked “Wouldn’t it be great if we had a CIREN Center in each of the 50 States?” His answer made the hair on my neck feel the chill of death. He emphatically said “I don’t want that.”
Since he was well funded by the auto companies, that was the beginning of the end of the CIREN program.
So if we are to make safety progress with automatic crash notification and Urgency software it will take more than I have been able to achieve.
There are millions of reasons the American people need Consumer Reports’ efforts now to help people get the timely and optimal protection from crash injuries they need to reduce mortality, morbidity and tragic consequences of their crashes.
I have tried to quantify some of these reasons using historical NHTSA data on more than a million crash deaths and DOT Policy guidance on dollar values of statistical lives lost. See
Please consider helping by signing the Consumer Reports Petition at CR.org/acnpetition.
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