About Auto Safety

Each year, more than 40,000 Americans die on the nation's highways, making automobile crashes one of the leading causes of death. But the carnage on our highways could be dramatically reduced by stronger standards for vehicle safety and more sensible regulation of the trucking industry.

The Auto Safety Group has been a part of Public Citizen since 1971. We work to improve highway safety by lobbying Congress to pass critical legislation, monitoring the Department of Transportation to be sure it carries out the will of Congress, conducting public awareness campaigns on critical issues, and participating in lawsuits to force government action when necessary.

Our recent projects and victories include:

  • Winning numerous safety gains in 2005’s highway bill, including provisions mandating improvements in vehicle roof strength, rollover accident prevention, and side-impact crash prevention;

  • Pressuring the National Highwayand Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to comply with the newly passed legislation by adopting stricter vehicle roof strength regulations that would prevent thousands of deaths each year in vehicle roll-over accidents;

  • Fighting for stronger hours-of-service rules for truck drivers to prevent deadly fatigue related accidents and protect drivers from exploitation;

  • Successfully pressuring the administration to abandon an inherently flawed and dangerous weight-based system when evaluating vehicle fuel economy and safety standards;

  • Battling for higher vehicle fuel economy standards by dispelling the myth that a more fuel efficient fleet is less safe;  

  • Convincing Congress to stiffen safety monitoring at the Mexican border so that under-regulated Mexican trucks do not threaten American lives on the highway;

  • Releasing a report on the inadequacy of current regulations governing booster seats, especially for children weighing between 40 and 80 lbs, documented in Public Citizen's report, The Forgotten Child and;

  • Working against the administration to convince NHTSA to adopt a functional and potentially life saving tire pressure monitoring standard, despite the efforts of the Office of Management and Budget to squash the agency's proposed rule. 

Our office is headed by Joan Claybrook, President of Public Citizen, and Robert Shull, Deputy Director for Auto Safety and Regulatory Policy.  You may contact us by emailing autosafety@citizen.org.