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July 21, 2005 Press Conference

Safety should be standard, not a luxury! 

July 21, 2005

Public Citizen, along with a broad coalition including crash survivors and auto safety advocacy, insurance and medical groups, today held a press conference to call for inclusion of critical auto safety provisions in the House-Senate Highway Funding Bill (H.R. 3).

Members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are in the final days of deciding whether to include critically important vehicle safety improvements in the highway transportation bill, H.R. 3.   The Senate’s version of the bill includes a number of auto safety improvements, which would set standards to make vehicle roofs stronger, prevent vehicle rollovers, avoid occupant ejections and make vehicles safer for children, among a number of other improvements.  Unfortunately, the House did not approve a similar bill.

These standards are necessary.  The U.S. Department of Transportation projects there were 42,800 highway deaths in 2004, an increase over 2003 fatalities.  In addition, there were almost 3 million injuries in crashes during 2004.  These deaths and injuries cost the country not just in lives lost, but in dollar figures – the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that highway crashes cost society $230.6 billion a year.

The Senate’s version of H.R. 3 would help make critical vehicle safety features standard for all consumers – not merely those who can afford expensive add-ons to their luxury vehicles.

Click on the links below to read the written statements from the press conference:

Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV):


Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen:


Judie Stone, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety:


Howard Champion, MD, president of the Coalition for American Trauma Care:


Alan Maness, Associate General Counsel for State Farm Insurance Companies:  


Sally Greenberg, Senior Product Safety Counsel for Consumers Union:


Survivor Advocates:

Rachel Clemens:


Syndi Ecker:


Julie Peck:


Jim Portell:  


Click on the links below to read Public Citizen’s press releases from the press conference:



Click on the links below for background information on the highway funding bill:

State-by-state rollover fatality statistics:


Safety highlights in Title VII, Senate-passed bill:


Latest NHTSA timelines shorter than SAFETEA schedule for safety rulemakings:


Motor vehicle safety in the Surface Transportation Safety Reauthorization Act of 2005:


Vehicle safety “must pass” provisions in H.R. 3, excerpts showing support in major newspaper editorials:


When Congress acts, NHTSA reacts, and lives are saved:


Click on the link below for more information on the highway funding bill: