NHTSA has a long history of disgorging its top people directly into the auto industry or the industry's lobbyists, law firms, PR firms, or other helping hand companies. Here is a list of revolvers that appears in Sudden Acceleration: The Myth of Driver Error. Erika Jones appears on this list. She was one of the NHTSA attorneys who went to work for Toyota, and she advised the automaker during the recalls crisis. Her name appears as a recipient of many of Toyota's internal documents. More later about Erika.
A thorough examination of how automakers have covered up SUA with a myth: that when a car takes off on its own, the driver always stepped on the wrong pedal and could always stop the car simply by applying the brakes. The authors show exactly how untrue this myth really is.
Here's a quote:
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 8, 2014
For More Information Contact: Gary Ruskin (202) 387-8030
After GM Disaster, Nader & Groups Call for Criminal Liability for Hiding Product Dangers
In an effort to prevent deadly product safety disasters – such as the GM ignition switch failure — Ralph Nader, the Center for Progressive Reform and the Center for Corporate Policy
called for enacting long-overdue criminal liability for product
supervisors who know their products are dangerous or deadly, yet fail to
tell federal regulators of these dangers.
Nader and the groups sent the letters today to the chairs and ranking
members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, asking them to
to require product supervisors to warn regulators and the public within
fifteen days after a product danger is discovered, or immediately if
there is an imminent risk of serious bodily injury or death.
The text of the letters follows.
Dear Senators Leahy and Grassley, and Representatives Goodlatte and Conyers:
This letter is a request that you introduce legislation to address
fatal failures such as those by General Motors to warn the public and
the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in timely
fashion about ignition switch failures in its Cobalts and other GM
models. Such legislation is badly needed to ensure that such failures –
and the deaths that come with them — do not happen again.
On February 13, 2014, General Motors announced a recall of about
778,000 of its cars due to an ignition switch failure. That recall has
now been expanded to nearly 2.5 million cars. At this time, the failure of the General Motors ignition systems is implicated in 303 deaths.
Revealingly, nearly ten years before this recall, in November 2004,
General Motors initiated an engineering inquiry to examine whether a
2005 Chevrolet Cobalt “can be keyed off with knee while driving.” In
March, 2005 the Cobalt Project Engineering Manager closed this inquiry
“with no action” because the “lead-time for all solutions is too long,”
and the “tooling cost and piece price are too high” and that “[n]one of
the solutions seems to fully countermeasure the possibility of the key
being turned (ignition turned off) during driving.” The Project
Engineering Manager’s “directive” concludes that “none of the solutions
represent an acceptable business case.”
It is clear that this tragedy was mostly preventable if General
Motors had properly warned NHTSA and the public at the outset of its
documented suspicion of an engineering defect in its cars.
Several Members of Congress propose remedies for General Motors’
failure to warn NHTSA in timely fashion. For example, Senators Edward
Markey and Richard Blumenthal have introduced legislation requiring auto
companies to provide NHTSA with key safety-related documents related to
fatal auto crashes, including certain internal safety documents,
insurance claims made against them, and information pertaining to
lawsuits against them related to the crashes.
The legislation would also require NHTSA to make this available to the
public via the Internet. Representative Henry Waxman has introduced
legislation to require auto manufacturers to disclose additional
information about fatal crashes, NHTSA to provide public notice of
inspection and investigation activities, and auto manufacturers to have a
U.S.-based senior executive certify the accuracy and completeness of
responses to NHTSA’s requests pursuant to safety investigations.
These approaches have merit within the context of auto safety, but
they are inadequate because they address merely a narrow segment of the
broader scope of the problem. Thus far, Members of Congress and the
media have largely viewed this General Motors ignition switch defect as a
matter of auto safety. Of course, it is that. But it is so much more.
The General Motors ignition switch defect is the latest example of a
grievous tradition in the history of multinational corporations: the
failure to warn U.S. regulators of deadly product defects. This
tradition includes, among many other tragedies, the Dalkon Shield, Ford
Firestone tires, cigarettes, asbestos, Guidant heart defibrillators,
Bayer’s Trasylol, Ford Pintos and Playtex Super-absorbent tampons, to
name a few. In March, an FBI investigation revealed that Toyota misled
the public about one cause of unintended acceleration in some of its
cars, and tried to hide a second cause from NHTSA.
This is the correct context in which to place the current General Motors ignition switch defect.
The failure to warn is a problem that potentially afflicts most
manufacturers, not merely the auto industry. Only a systematic solution
will fix this systematic problem. A good solution must be broad in
scope. The best solution lies in establishing incentives to strongly
predispose corporate officials to promptly disclose product dangers to
regulators and the public.
In the 111th Congress, Rep. John Conyers introduced the Dangerous Products Warning Act,
which would require companies to warn employees, consumers and the
appropriate federal regulators of any product or service that poses a
serious danger to the public. The legislation would create criminal
liability for product supervisors who knew of serious dangers but failed
to warn federal regulators or affected parties. Under this
legislation, such warnings must be made within fifteen days after such
discovery is made, or immediately if there is an imminent risk of
serious bodily injury or death.
Such legislation would have saved countless American lives and
prevented many injuries during the last fifty years, probably including
those who died or were injured from the General Motors ignition switch
We strongly urge you to introduce the Dangerous Products Warning Act
in the 113th Congress, and to work diligently for its passage.
Rena Steinzor, President, Center for Progressive Reform
Gary Ruskin, Director, Center for Corporate Policy
Nader and the groups sent the letters to Senator Pat Leahy, chairman
of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary; Senator Chuck Grassley,
ranking member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary; Representative
The full text of the letters is available
 Christopher Jensen, “G.M. Recall Total in 2014 Reaches 4.8 Million.” New York Times, March 29, 2014.
 Danielle Ivory and Hilary Stout, “303 Deaths Seen in G.M. Cars With Failed Air Bags.” New York Times, March 13, 2014.
Majority staff, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, “Hearing on
‘The GM Ignition Switch Recall: Why Did It Take So Long?’” March 30,
 S. 2151, the Early Warning Reporting System Improvements Act of 2014.
 H.R. 4364, the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2014.
 H.R. 6544. It was re-introduced in the 112th Congress as H.R. 322. See also Matthew L. Wald, “Spurred by G.M. Recall, Senators Push for Better Auto Safety Reporting.” New York Times, March 25, 2014.
Here's a re-posting of this news piece that was done a couple months ago.
It covers the Toyota UA story, my efforts, and an update with various interviews. Almost 20 minutes altogether.
I had the link up on FB but now that my FB is disabled because of pressure from Toyota, claims made by one of their lawyers Christine, I am reposting it here.
It is around 2/3 in Hebrew, but I suggest it is worth the watch because it includes interviews in English with Dr. Henning Leidecker and attorney Cole Portis, one mind behind the Bookout trial win.
Preparing to write a book of narrative nonfiction, a suspenseful page-turning thriller about a story with an unknown outcome.. I am reading books and watching a lot of movies, mostly about heroes slaying corporate/government monsters or heroes caught up in tidal waves of history.
Today's film is The Last Samurai.
Some days I feel like this character Algren, cut down and just barely spared from death.
But this Algren gets up and gets stronger, learning from Japanese how to fight Japanese.
That was early in the movie.
Much later, Algren says:
Indeed, Captain Algren, it's not over.
The story is not over.
The fight is not over.