Invitation to the 2017 Callaway Awards Ceremony and Reception Honoring Whistle Blowers

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

I am pleased to forward this invitation to an event honoring Whistleblowers.

Invitation to the 2017 Callaway Award Ceremony and Reception
The Shafeek Nader Trust for the Community Interest
cordially invites you to attend the annual
Joe A. Callaway Award for Civic Courage Ceremony and Reception
on Thursday, September 21, 2017
5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Carnegie Institution Building
1530 P Street, NW
Washington, DC

The 2017 Award Recipients

Joel Clement. Upholding the highest standards of his civil service oath as a senior federal official, he blew the whistle on the Trump Administration’s Interior Department for using personnel reassignment to shut down climate change programs, muzzle scientists and undermine subject matter experts.

Megan RiceMichael R. WalliGreg Boertje-Obed. Courageous activists who waged peace against nuclear weapons by taking their non-violent message of conscience inside the highly-guarded Y-12 Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, TN.

Fwd: FW: Letter sent to House Members for tomorrow’s vote on Autonomous Vehicles legislation

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Eric Naing <enaing@saferoads.org>
Date: Tue, Sep 5, 2017 at 3:20 PM
Subject: FW: Letter sent to House Members for tomorrow’s vote on Autonomous Vehicles legislation
To: Eric Naing <enaing@saferoads.org>

Good afternoon,

FYI – the letter below and attached was sent this afternoon to members of the House of Representatives in advance of tomorrow’s House vote on the autonomous vehicle (SELF DRIVE) legislation (H.R. 3388). Please let me know if you would like more information or would like to speak to someone further about this important issue.

Best,

Eric Naing

Communications Manager

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

750 First Street, NE

Suite 1130

Washington, DC 20002

202-408-1711

(C) 217-493-8294

www.saferoads.org

September 5, 2017

Dear Member of the House of Representatives,

On behalf of our consumer, public health and safety organizations, we would like to provide our views of H.R. 3388, the Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research In Vehicle Evolution Act (SELF DRIVE Act).  This legislation addresses the future development and deployment of autonomous vehicles (AVs) and will be considered by the House of Representatives tomorrow.

Unfortunately, this legislation takes an unnecessary and unacceptable hands-off approach to hands-free driving.  A recent study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology revealed deep public skepticism about AVs.  Only 13 percent of those polled reported that they would be comfortable with vehicle “features that completely relieve the driver of all control for the entire drive.”  Similarly, a Kelly Blue Book survey, released in September 2016, found that nearly 80 percent of respondents believed that people should always have the option to drive themselves, and nearly one in three said they would never buy a level 5 AV.

Any defect or setback involving AVs will severely curtail public acceptance of this technology and risk the progress and promise AVs hold to significantly reduce motor vehicle crashes, fatalities and injuries.  For these reasons, the following issues must be adequately addressed to ensure public safety, security and confidence.

Excessive Numbers of Exempted Vehicles are Permitted and will Jeopardize Safety:  Expanding statutory exemptions from the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) for AVs is both unwarranted and unwise.  As currently drafted, the bill would allow for potentially millions of vehicles on America’s roads that have been exempted from critical FMVSS including those that apply to occupant protection and crashworthiness.  Only 18 months ago, Congress increased allowable exemptions for manufacturers in the FAST Act (Pub. L. 114-94), and this is sufficient for the development and deployment of AVs.

Exemptions from Crashworthiness Standards Should be Prohibited: Any provision allowing for exemptions from crashworthiness standards, no matter the qualification or time line, is an egregious and unacceptable attack on safety.  Autonomous vehicles will be sharing the roads with traditional vehicles for many years to come and will undoubtedly be involved in crashes.  Exposing motorists to the dangers of crashes without proven and needed protections is a wanton disregard for public health and safety.

Essential Data and Public Information About AVs are Needed:  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA) should be required to establish and maintain a current public database for all AVs that contains essential data including but not limited to Safety Assessment Letters, information on the level of automation of each vehicle, exemptions from FMVSS that it is operating under, and the operational design domain with which the AV is equipped. The data collected in the database shall be appended to crash databases maintained by the U.S. Department of Transportation.  Such a database will allow for independent evaluation and research on the real-world performance of AVs.  Furthermore, all non-proprietary communications and responses between the agency and a manufacturer as it relates to any issues involving AVs must be made available for contemporaneous public review, scholarly research and safety analysis by independent stakeholders.

Finally, Congress must ensure that consumers are given essential information about an AV.  Under the current version of this bill, it will be years before NHTSA even completes research before beginning the process to issue a consumer information rule.  Every manufacturer should be required to provide every consumer for every vehicle sold information about its capabilities, limitations and exemptions from federal safety standards.  This information should not be withheld from consumers until NHTSA completes research and finally issues a rule.

Sufficient Funding for NHTSA is Critical: The agency must be given additional funding and staff resources in order to meet the demands being placed on the agency with regard to the advent of AV technology. We recommend the establishment of an office of AV technology within NHTSA with an adequate budget to implement the requirements of this legislation, to assist in the safe introduction of AV technology into the marketplace, and to ensure oversight and accountability.

NHTSA Needs Additional Enforcement Powers:  NHTSA should be given the additional tools of imminent hazard authority to protect against potentially catastrophic defects with AVs and criminal penalties to ensure manufacturers do not willfully and knowingly put defective AVs into the marketplace.

 

State Preemption is Too Broad:  We share the concerns expressed by associations representing Governors, state legislators and other state officials about the broad and unacceptable preemption language in H.R. 3388.  While we support the statutory mission of NHTSA to regulate the design and performance of motor vehicles to ensure public safety, unless and until NHTSA issues comprehensive standards and regulations to govern AVs, states have every legal right, indeed a duty to their citizens, to fill the regulatory vacuum with state developed proposals and solutions for ensuring public safety.  States must not be precluded from fulfilling their role to protect their citizens.

It is critically important that life-saving technologies be advanced in a safe and expeditious manner.  We believe that AVs will not only change our lifestyles but may, once and for all, change our ability to achieve meaningful and lasting reductions in the death and injury toll on our streets and highways.  However, realizing these goals can only be achieved if Congress enacts legislation that ensures that AVs are developed and deployed in a safe, sensible and transparent manner.

Sincerely,

Jacqueline Gillan, President

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

Joan Claybrook, Chair

Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways and

Former Administrator, NHTSA

Jason Levine, Executive Director

Center for Auto Safety

Jack Gillis, Director of Public Affairs

Consumer Federation of America

Sally Greenberg, Executive Director

National Consumers League

Andrew McGuire, Executive Director

Trauma Foundation

John Lannen, Executive Director

Truck Safety Coalition

Hurricanes – Vehicles Under Water – Buyers Beware

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:
 
Hurricane Harvey 
 
This latest disaster in an increasingly heating world has consumer financial and safety consequences that will continue long after the sun returns to Houston area.
 

The Washington Post reports on vehicles underwater:

“Harvey appears to be the most destructive event for cars in the nation’s history, based on early estimates, with floodwaters destroying hundreds of thousands of vehicles in a sprawling city that relies on them for much of its transportation….By Friday, as floodwaters had begun to retreat, insurance adjusters had arrived and they were eyeing the mud-streaked vehicles. The situation was bad: Cars that looked okay were useless under the hood because of destroyed electrical systems. Even with repairs, managers said, the vehicles would be unsafe to drive….

Harvey appears to be the most destructive event for cars in the nation’s history, based on early estimates, with floodwaters destroying hundreds of thousands of vehicles in a sprawling city that relies on them for much of its transportation….

Harvey appears to be the most destructive event for cars in the nation’s history, based on early estimates, with floodwaters destroying hundreds of thousands of vehicles in a sprawling city that relies on them for much of its transportation.”

See https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/storm-flooding-destroyed-hundreds-of-thousands-of-cars-in-a-city-that-relies-heavily-on-them/2017/09/03/1dd22680-90b8-11e7-89fa-bb822a46da5b_story.html?tid=ss_tw-bottom&utm_term=.6e97402133ab

Buyers Beware 
Kelley Blue Book Editors reports:
“Scrap itOwners should take a page from Mike Jackson, CEO of auto retailing giant AutoNation, who said his group will be scrapping all the flooded vehicles in inventory. “Any time you get a flood level in a vehicle above a foot or two, you really should scrap the vehicle,” Jackson told CNBC’s Squawk Box. “The damage that’s done to the electrical systems in these high-tech cars—just forget about it. They’re all going to have to be replaced….”“In the flood’s aftermath, insurances companies decide the fate of affected vehicles. Many are written-off, branded as flood damaged and sold for salvage. However some will hit the roadways once again – slowly deteriorating from the inside out – and due to a tactic called “title washing”, you might never know you’re driving one….In the flood’s aftermath, insurances companies decide the fate of affected vehicles. Many are written-off, branded as flood damaged and sold for salvage. However some will hit the roadways once again – slowly deteriorating from the inside out – and due to a tactic called “title washing”, you might never know you’re driving one.Laundering the ownership trail

Title washing occurs when a vehicle’s title is branded in one state – for example, as “flood” damaged – but then transported to another state that may have different criteria for title branding. Due to these slight differences, certain vehicles branded as flood damaged in one state may receive a clean title in another.”….

Dig history

The best defense is a good offense–go online and buy a vehicle history report. These comprehensive overviews can be accessed from sites like Experian’s AutoCheck, and will track important information including title branding and registration over the vehicle’s life, regardless of where the vehicle is registered.

Other helpful tools include the Department of Justice’s National Motor Vehicle Title Information System as well as the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s VINCheck service, which is free to use. VINCheck compiles data from insurers and allows consumers to see whether a vehicle has ever been declared a total loss or salvaged.”

 
Safety
 
Safety consequences for owners and all other road users are to be determined in the years ahead.
 
Lou Lombardo

GAO Finds Federal Vehicle Data Privacy Policy – “Unclear”

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

 

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the “NHTSA Needs to Define Its Role”.  GAO recommends that NHTSA

 

“define, document, and externally communicate its roles and responsibilities related to the privacy of data generated by and collected from vehicles.”

For GAO Report details see:

“August 28, 2017

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today released the following:

REPORT

Vehicle Data Privacy: Industry and Federal Efforts Under Way but NHTSA Needs to Define Its Role
GAO-17-656, July 28

Report: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-17-656

Highlights: http://www.gao.gov/assets/690/686285.pdf

Lou Lombardo

Americans Were Warned But Fiat Chrysler Jeep Tragedies Continue

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

For years, Americans have been warned, but our “captured” government and corporate supremacy have failed to protect us.

“June 8, 2013

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

CNN article and accompanying videos do an excellent job of alerting the public to the life or death problem of Chrysler Jeep fires. See

http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/07/opinion/ditlow-chrysler-recall/index.html?hpt=hp_t4

More than 100,000 people so far have signed petition for recall. See

hhttp://www.change.org/dangerousjeeps

https://www.change.org/petitions/dot-and-nhtsa-save-innocent-families-from-burning-to-death-in-jeeps 

Center for Auto Safety Letters to Chrysler and Fiat. See

CAS Asks Fiat/Chrysler Chairmen Elkann & Marchionne to Recall Jeeps that Burn Children to Death in Rear Impacts”

 See https://www.careforcrashvictims.com/monthly-reports/blog-chrysler-gambling/

Today another foreseen and preventable tragedy is reported.

“A fatal accident this week involving a Jeep SUV has revived criticism from safety advocates that a federally sanctioned recall plan to keep the vehicle’s fuel tank from igniting in rear-end crashes didn’t go far enough to protect motorists.

Vicki Hill, 58, of Elyria, Ohio, died early Monday morning after her 2007 Jeep Liberty was rear-ended.

See https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-31/jeep-driver-dies-in-fiery-crash-despite-controversial-hitch-fix

Americans need to recapture their government for their future safety and happiness.
 
Lou Lombardo

Fwd: ADVISORY: Truck Underride Roundtable and Crash Test

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Please see this Media Advisory on Truck Underride Crash Test.

Lou Lombardo

Contact: Beth Weaver 301.814.4088

MEDIA ADVISORY

TRUCK UNDERRIDE ROUNDTABLE AND SIDE UNDERRIDE CRASH TEST

The Truck Safety Coalition will be co-sponsoring the Truck Underride Roundtable,  a national forum on truck underride crashes on August 28 at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in Ruckersville, VA.  Safety advocates, government and industry leaders will meet to discuss solutions to reduce truck underride deaths and injuries.

With nearly 4,000 fatalities and 100,000 injuries from truck crashes on our nation’s highways each year, the Truck Safety Coalition works with safety advocates and members of the trucking industry, and continues to urge lawmakers to adopt key truck safety mandates such as underride guards to prevent injuries and save lives.

WHO: Truck Safety Coalition

WHEN: August 28, 2017, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.  (IIHS will conduct a crash test at 12 p.m.)

WHERE: 988 Dairy Road, Ruckersville, VA 22968

Truck crash victims and their families from NC and TN speaking at the conference are available for media interviews:

 

Laurie and Randall Higginbotham (Memphis, TN) Laurie will be participating in a panel discussion on side underride crashes. On November 18, 2014, their son Michael was killed when his car crashed into a truck blocking the roadway near I-240 in Memphis. The truck had made an illegal U-turn across all lanes of traffic and cut in front of his car. His car lodged under the side of the trailer and Michael was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver was cited for his negligence and received a mere $50 fine.

Jennifer Tierney (Kernersville, NC) Jennifer Tierney will be giving a presentation on her decades of advocacy on truck underride and conspicuity. She is a Board Member for Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways and a Member of the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee.   Her father was killed in a 1983 truck crash in North Carolina on a dark rural road when he came upon a jackknifed truck without working lights, reflective tape or underride guards.

The Truck Safety Coalition, a partnership between Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) and Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT), is dedicated to reducing the number of deaths and injuries caused by truck-related crashes, providing compassionate support to truck crash survivors and families of truck crash victims, and educating the public policy-makers and media about truck safety issues.

###

Beth Weaver 

Weaver Communications

beth_weaver@verizon.net

301.814.4088

Walden Jury Verdict Appealed by Fiat Chrysler – Again

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Legal Reader has published an excellent article, with video, on this case.

See it at http://www.legalreader.com/chrysler-appeals-remi-walden-verdict-says-excessive/

This is another example of the reality of preventable tragedies and corporate intransigence to legally delay justice for money and prevent future tragedies.

The role of the Center for Auto Safety in providing documents to the public is athttps://www.careforcrashvictims.com/blog/the-walden-case-justice-delayed-is-justice-denied/

Hopefully getting the information out will help us all prevent future tragedies and build a safer and more just world.

Lou