Ralph Nader’s groundbreaking book “Unsafe at Any Speed” was published 50 years ago, on Nov. 30, 1965. The book accused car manufacturers of resistance to the introduction of safety features such as seatbelts and criticized the auto industry for their reluctance to spend money on safety. It was a pioneering work, which shone the light on safety defects and how the auto industry routinely puts profits before people.
Bisnar Chase’s senior partner and nationally renowned auto defect lawyer, Brian D. Chase, wrote “Still Unsafe at Any Speed” 40 years after Nader’s book.
Chase’s book was an expose of the auto industry’s disregard for consumer safety, pointing out the fact that four decades after Nader’s book, car makers were still continuing to cause needless human suffering by producing defective, unsafe vehicles – despite the fact that they had the technology and knowhow to produce much safer vehicles. Now, consumer safety advocacy group, the Center for Auto Safety, has announced that auto safety-related measures over the last 50 years have saved 3.5 million lives by averting traffic deaths caused by defective vehicles and vehicle parts.
How Regulation Has Made a Difference
The 3.5 million represents the difference between the number of deaths that there would have been if the death rate had stayed at 5.50 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 1966 versus what it went down to in each subsequent year falling to 1.07 by 2014, said Clarence Ditlow, executive director of Center for Auto Safety, which was co-founded by Ralph Nader.
Lives have been saved by traffic laws that regulate seatbelt and helmet use as well as drunk driving, safer roads, vehicle safety standards and vehicle safety improvements spurred by consumer demand for more safety after Nader’s book, which exposed the deplorable safety records of automakers. A few months after the book’s release, Congress unanimously passed the Vehicle Safety and Highway Safety Acts, signed by President Lyndon Johnson.
Still a Long Way to Go
As auto defect attorneys who represent severely injured clients, we know that there is still a long way to go when it comes to safer vehicles. We’ve seen millions of vehicles recalled just over the last year for a variety of serious defects from faulty ignitions to airbags. We’ve seen automakers getting slapped with unprecedented fines for failing to issue timely recalls. This means we still have a problem. While we may have come a long way over the last five decades, we still have a long way to go.