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Just got this from Public Citizen.

Claybrook historically has often been clueless, far left, or just mean. Nonetheless, I think this Nader, Inc. press release contains valid points.

Certainly the "short term thinking" comment is on the money. (Bold added.)

Opinions?




From the Press Office

Sept. 9, 2008

Government, Auto Industry Drag Feet on Critical Roof Strength Standard, Squander Opportunity to Save Lives

Statement of Joan Claybrook, President of Public Citizen*

Detroit automakers have a long history of short-term thinking, fighting tooth and nail against improving their vehicles in order to make another buck today. For 20 years, they resisted the airbag standard, while thousands of people died needlessly. For 20 years, they have avoided making fuel-efficient passenger vehicles as competitors outclassed them, and now they seek a government bailout. For the past 20 years, they have raked in billions selling expensive SUVs and pickup trucks that are prone to rolling over while lacking obvious passenger protections. All the while, the U.S. Department of Transportation has been complicit in allowing up to 250,000 deaths and far more injuries in rollover crashes by not issuing an effective rollover injury prevention safety standard.

READ the statement: http://www.citizen.org/pressroom/release.cfm?ID=2729
 

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I never understood why manufacturers don't put an internal rollcage in pickup trucks. I have seen several fullsize trucks roll over at Moab during Easter Jeep Safaris and watching their roof's collapse is downright scary. It seems like a very cheap safety option which could even help in other crash tests.
 

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Occasionally, Nader and Claybrook stumble into the correct position. This is not one of those times.
General Motors offered airbags on Oldsmobiles and Buicks long before there was any requirement to do so. Nobody wanted them.
Nash made seatbelts standard equipment in 1950. Ford introduced their "Life Guard Design" features in 1956. No one knew of the Nash seatbelts and Ford's 1956 sales were actually hurt by the obvious safety features.
As recently as four years ago less than five percent of consumers identified fuel economy as a major consideration in their automotive purchase. The Asian manufacturers were not prescient; they were building what they could sell at home and it just happened to work here.
Nader is fortunate that GM hired detectives to follow him around. The publicity, and the cash from the resultant lawsuit, gave rise to his notoriety. He is, rarely and inadvertently, correct on an issue. More usually, he and Ms. Claybrook specialize in wrong!
 

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The new GM Suvs and Trucks are sposed to have stronger roofs than the last generations. But I am not sure about it because the Silverado doesn't have no B Pillars in the Extended cab model which isn't going to do it much good if it lands on its roof.
 

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I never understood why manufacturers don't put an internal rollcage in pickup trucks. I have seen several fullsize trucks roll over at Moab during Easter Jeep Safaris and watching their roof's collapse is downright scary. It seems like a very cheap safety option which could even help in other crash tests.
Simple. They made the frames so strong they couldn't afford to add extra weight elsewhere. Besides, all the trucks look tough, don't they?

Occasionally, Nader and Claybrook stumble into the correct position. This is not one of those times.
General Motors offered airbags on Oldsmobiles and Buicks long before there was any requirement to do so. Nobody wanted them.
Nash made seatbelts standard equipment in 1950. Ford introduced their "Life Guard Design" features in 1956. No one knew of the Nash seatbelts and Ford's 1956 sales were actually hurt by the obvious safety features.
As recently as four years ago less than five percent of consumers identified fuel economy as a major consideration in their automotive purchase. The Asian manufacturers were not prescient; they were building what they could sell at home and it just happened to work here.
Nader is fortunate that GM hired detectives to follow him around. The publicity, and the cash from the resultant lawsuit, gave rise to his notoriety. He is, rarely and inadvertently, correct on an issue. More usually, he and Ms. Claybrook specialize in wrong!
A very accurate assessment, in my opinion. Safety, and then mileage are just two more "flavors of the month" when it comes to a fickle buying public who would much rather eat, cellphone, apply makeup, have sex, read, or watch TV while behind the wheel rather than actually drive.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that if you want to improve automotive safety, start with the weakest link, the driver. Other than that, I noticed rollover deaths increased about the same time that people were getting out of performance cars and into trucks. Not many farmers or construction workers were getting killed in rollovers before that, so maybe we can blame the insurance companies for starting that trend with high insurance premiums on performance cars. Just a thought.
 
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