Contact: Caitlin Graf, The Nation, press[at]thenation.com, 212-209-5400
Clarence Ditlow, The Center for Auto Safety, 202-328-7700
New York, NY – December 1, 2015 – Based on an exclusive new analysis of deaths per mile driven, the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) and The Nation, America’s premiere weekly magazine of progressive politics and culture, today announced that auto safety-related measures—the 1966 federal laws, federal agency and general measures they created—have averted 3.5 million auto deaths over the past 50 years.
The data, compiled by CAS executive director Clarence Ditlow and timed to the 50th anniversary of the publication of Ralph Nader’s Unsafe At Any Speed, is exclusively reported in “How Ralph Nader Changed America,” a Nation profile of the crusading consumer advocate by Mark Green. It will be published in the December 21/28, 2015 edition of the magazine and be accompanied by an interview between Nader and national affairs correspondent John Nichols.
“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 hundred million VMT (vehicle miles traveled) in 1966 versus what it went down to in each subsequent year, falling to 1.07 by 2014,”* said Ditlow. “Deaths have been saved by traffic laws (seat belt use, helmet and drunk driving laws), safer roads, vehicle safety standards and vehicle safety improvements spurred by consumer demand for more safety after Unsafe at Any Speed.” [*See chart below.]
Green, who worked for Nader in Washington, DC, from 1970-1980 and later became the first elected Public Advocate of New York City, added: “These 3.5 million American lives saved over five decades by auto regulation reducing auto-related death rates by 80 percent—as many saved per year as were killed in the entire Vietnam War—is a persuasive numerical rebuttal to all who glibly denounce ‘big government.’ Would they maintain their disdain if shown to among the 3.5 million? The issue is not the size of government but how a smart democracy can successfully save millions of lives.”