There was a time when regulatory oversight of the auto industry was practically non-existent.
Vehicle designs that often caused catastrophic car accidents with alarming regularity.
Luckily, in the 1960s, there was a great awakening in America – with safety and consumer advocates like Ralph Nader and our very own Bill Davis and Leon RisCassi leading successful efforts to bring reasonable safety oversight to a wide array of consumer goods – and cars in particular.
So how are we doing now?
According to Consumer Reports, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted fewer auto and truck defect investigations in 2017 than at any time in its history. The agency was authorized by Congress in 1970 is an effort to make cars, trucks, and highways safer.
In 2017, just 13 such investigations were launched.
Consumer advocates warn that this dramatic pro-industry shift may lead to dangerous vehicle defects that will surface later.
So, what’s going on?
First, since the beginning of the Trump Administration, the NHTSA has been without a chief. There’s still no one in charge of the agency – though someone has now been nominated.
NHTSA told Consumer Reports that the agency is in “a new era of communication with the auto industry and that investigations are not as necessary as they once were, even just a few years ago.”
Is that the reason – or is something more nefarious going on here?
And is this the only consumer safety agency that is languishing?
Turns out that several other executive branch agencies (e.g., the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Department of Education), have recently have rolled back or weakened a number of consumer protections. The Consumer Product Safety Commission also appears to be easing enforcement.
Now, it’s well known that President Trump supports a what he calls a business-friendly environment. It’s also a fact that he’s bringing in agency heads with strong ties to the industries they will now regulate. And it’s clear that businesses are thrilled by the President’s attacks on regulatory oversight.
But what will be the cost in innocent human lives? Does the President and do members of his administration really believe that the private sector’s consumer safety track record warrants this favorable regulatory treatment?
Or have they chosen to conveniently forget the decades and decades of corporations routinely choosing profit over lives?
We believe it’s the latter.
If you’re worried about protecting your consumer rights – call your Congressman and U.S. Senators and let them know you are watching and that you care. In a democracy – activism trumps big money and powerful lobbyists most of the time. Do your part to protect your rights before it is too late.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective product, call a qualified Connecticut product liability lawyer. A knowledgeable product liability attorney can help to ensure that your rights are protected. What’s more, our product liability lawyers have received local and national recognition for our handling of cases like these.
We have a great team of legal experts dedicated to product liability cases in Connecticut. Please contact us if we can help you. The consultation is free and there is no obligation of any kind.