Auto Safety

October 26, 2001 • Volume 11, Issue 37
Are car companies putting profits ahead of people?
By Brian Hansen

Introduction

The nation's motor vehicle fatality rate is at the lowest level in history, thanks in large part to seat belts, airbags and high-tech measures such as anti-lock brakes. Yet in 2000, traffic accidents killed more than 41,000 people at a cost to society estimated at $150 billion.  (Adam Arkon)
The nation's motor vehicle fatality rate is at the lowest level in history, thanks in large part to seat belts, airbags and high-tech measures such as anti-lock brakes. Yet in 2000, traffic accidents killed more than 41,000 people at a cost to society estimated at $150 billion. (Adam Arkon)

Cars and light trucks today have more safety features than ever thanks to tougher federal regulations and carmakers' innovations. Hundreds of thousands of people owe their lives to seat belts, airbags and anti-lock brakes and other sophisticated electronic systems. Indeed, the nation's highway accident rate is at its lowest level ever. But critics note that more than 41,000 people still die every year in motor vehicle accidents and that the spate of recent fatalities linked to the Ford Explorer and Firestone tires indicates that automakers are still shortchanging the public on safety. They say Detroit should be held to much more stringent manufacturing, performance and defect-reporting standards. But manufacturers contend safety actually will suffer if ill-conceived or superfluous government regulations are implemented.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Automobiles
Feb. 17, 2017  Reducing Traffic Deaths
Jul. 25, 2014  Future of Cars
Feb. 06, 2009  Auto Industry's Future Updated
May 16, 2003  SUV Debate
Oct. 26, 2001  Auto Safety
Jan. 21, 2000  Auto Industry's Future
Jul. 25, 1997  Aggressive Driving
Oct. 16, 1992  U.S. Auto Industry
Apr. 27, 1990  Curbing Auto-Insurance Premiums
Jul. 14, 1989  Automakers Face Trouble Down the Road
Aug. 31, 1984  U.S. Auto Industry: Strategies for Survival
Feb. 23, 1979  Auto Research and Regulation
Apr. 28, 1978  Automotive Safety
May 10, 1974  Auto Industry in Flux
Apr. 18, 1973  Auto Emission Controls
Jan. 13, 1971  Auto Insurance Reform
Jul. 27, 1966  Fortunes of Auto Industry
Jun. 04, 1965  Automobile Safety
Jul. 10, 1964  Automobile Insurance and Traffic Safety
Nov. 19, 1958  Small Cars
Apr. 17, 1957  Better Driving
Jul. 01, 1954  Competition in Automobiles
Mar. 23, 1954  Automobile Liability Insurance
Dec. 24, 1952  Highway Accidents: Causes and Remedies
Aug. 21, 1945  Automobiles in the Postwar Economy
Sep. 02, 1938  The Market for Automobiles
Oct. 26, 1932  Outlook for the Automobile Industry
Dec. 10, 1929  Condition of the Automobile Industry
Jan. 30, 1928  Automobile Fatalities and Compulsory Insurance
Dec. 10, 1927  The Status of the Automobile Trade
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Motor Traffic Safety
Motor Vehicle Industry