Auto Safety

Auto Safety

Cars are dangerous. Over 30,000 people die every year on America’s roadways, and hundreds of thousands more are injured. But before the invention of safety features like airbags, head restraints, seatbelts, and anti-lock brakes, it was far worse. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, created in 1966, established regulations that forced industry to adopt many of these features. The agency also issues recalls for defective or dangerous automobile models.


Why We Had To Regulate The Auto Industry

July 01, 2011
US Capitol building

Darrel Issa’s Government Handover

January 05, 2011

Cry Wolf Quotes

Many of the temporary standards are unreasonable, arbitrary and technically unfeasible . . . If we can’t meet them when they are published we’ll have to close down.

Henry Ford II, 1966.

From a commercial standpoint in a competitive marketplace [safety devices such as the turn signal and the seat belt must be optional] until a very high proportion of the customers select the item or unless there are compelling reasons for standard installation.

GM president Frederic G. Donner, Testimony, Subcommittee on Executive Reorganization of the Senate Committee on Government Operations.

And you can see that safety has really killed all of our business...We're not only frustrated, but, uh, we've reached the despair point.

In a secretly taped meeting with Nixon, future Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca. National Archives Nixon Project.

GM urges that the passive restraint requirement be eliminated…There is an immediate need to avoid the sharp economic impediment that these requirements…would place on the domestic car market’s recovery.

Letter sent to the Office of Management and Budget by General Motors.


Backgrounders & Briefs

Good Rules: Ten Stories Of Successful Regulation

Demos looks at ten laws and rules that we take for granted.


Consumer Federation of America defends the consumer interest in fields ranging from housing and financial services to food safety. 

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is the agency that oversees auto and highway safety regulations, auto recalls, and CAFE standards.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is an alliance of consumer, health and safety groups and insurance companies and agents working together to make America's roads safer.

The Center for Auto Safety was founded by Ralph Nader in 1970, and has advocated for auto safety and consumer rights ever since.