Center for Auto Safety turns 50

November 20, 2020

The Center for Auto Safety in Washington DC recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. The Center is the APA`s American sister organization -- both were started by staff from organizations started by Ralph Nader in the 1960s. The Center`s milestone birthday was celebrated with a virtual gala, with appearances by luminaries like Ralph Nader himself, several current members of the U.S. Congress, media personalities, the head of the Global New Car Assessment Program (Global NCAP), Jason Levine, who is the Center`s current Executive Director, and the APA`s George Iny.

There was also a nice retrospective of the work of Clarence Ditlow, the former head of the Center for Auto Safety, who sat on the APA Board for many years. In 2015, Clarence embarrassed the Canadian government into introducing much needed amendments to modernise Canada`s auto recall legislation. The bill was tabled in the dying days of the Harper government; subsequently the Liberals took up the mantle under Transport Minister Marc Garneau and improved amendments were enacted in 2018. The Center for Auto Safety was part of many important events in auto safety, including:

  • 1971: Recall of 6.7 million Chevrolets for defective engine mounts.
  • 1978: Recall of 1.5 million Ford Pintos for exploding gas tanks..
  • 2000: Recall of 23 million Firestone tires
  • 2012-2015: Recall of 7 million Toyotas for sudden acceleration.
  • 2013: Recall of 1.5 million Jeeps for fuel tanks prone to fires.
  • 2014: Recall of 29 million GM vehicles for defective ignition switches.
  • 2015: Recall of 60 million exploding Takata airbag inflators.
  • 2019-20: Recall of over two million Hyundai and Kia vehicles for fire risk
  • Lemon Laws - in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Recall Repairs – made at no charge to consumers
  • Airbags - in every car & improved airbags for later models
  • Stronger Passenger Vehicle Roofs - saving lives during rollovers
  • Emergency exits on School Buses
  • Requiring that Technical Service Bulletin be disclosed on the US government`s NHTSA website

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If you have some time to spare, I invite you to view the virtual gala on the Center for Auto Safety`s website.

George Iny
Executive Director