Having worked on the life saving technology of Automatic Crash Notification (ACN) since the early 1990s it is gratifying to see Consumer Reports launch this initiative.
In response to Consumer Reports’ call for public support I wrote this article that lays out some of the history of the enormous number of tragedies since 1982 that now exceed the number of lives lost in all U. S. Wars.
I document what NHTSA knew, when they knew it, as NHTSA counted more than 1,600,000 fatalities since 1982.
Please help Consumer Reports succeed in this life saving effort to get NHTSA to promulgate an ACN Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard.
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
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.
The good news is that Consumer Reports has initiated a campaign to get NHTSA to do its job.
Consumer Reports has launched a campaign to get NHTSA to mandate, as a Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, that automakers provide Automatic Crash Notification and URGENCY software with information on the probability of the presence of serious injury. Such equipment would be required in all new vehicles free of charge.
But consumers need the best possible purchasing auto safety information — especially as crash fatalities and serious injuries continue to grow.
And people need Consumer Reports to do more and better.
One important thing Consumer Reports can do is add information on the number and location of airbags in each model. The IIHS has such information and can collaborate with Consumer Reports to make it more widely available.