ASF on Saving Detroit and Saving Lives

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The Automobile Safety Foundation recommends save mirrors, modern auto theft prevention and hydrogen alternatives.

In 1969, the NHTSA passed regulation; FMVSS 114, a theft measure, which resulted in most automakers implementing a spring loaded steering lock. The steering lock has proven to be the worst design error in automotive history. Because it is easily defeated, it is responsible for sustainably contributing to the incidence of auto theft. Moreover, the steering lock has proven to be an extreme hazard, unsafe at any speed, causing accidents and loss of life.

The Automobile Safety Foundation was founded in 1988 to address this unsafe device and abolish its production. Additionally, ASF backs many safety and design modifications. Starting in the early 1990's with the help of former president Clinton, ASF began the liberation of the automobile from this obsolete and dangerous device, while helping usher in safe and modern auto theft prevention technology ("immobilizer", etc.) Most drivers are unaware that vehicles are even equipped with steering locks. Currently ASF works in conjunction with national DMVs that print the ASF steering lock warning and operation information in their driver Handbooks. Now, in the 21st century, every automaker has at least one model on the road that has replaced the steering lock with modern theft prevention. Despite this, auto theft remains one of the biggest crimes in the United States. There is a long way to go in addressing this important issue.

In traffic, drivers cannot merge or change lanes safely with standard side view mirrors. Continuing with the modernization of the automobile, this issue must be addressed as well. For the great multitude of vehicles already on the road, the answer is blind spot mirror attachments like the ones seen on the ASF website. Perhaps the government should consider funding ASF that is doing something about these mirrors; instead of the NHTSA that has taken no action in this in over 40 years. The automakers themselves have begun to address this for future production, such as the split side view mirror used on some Ford vehicles.

ASF research has produced evidence that hydrogen as an alternative fuel source could help come to the rescue of Detroit. American's have always liked their big cars and they would like them even more if they were powered by hydrogen that can substitute for gasoline or be mixed with it, while emitting environmentally friendly H2O emissions. The goal for hydrogen conversion can likely be achieved with minor production line modifications. This certainly seems like one sagacious way to cut back on dependence of foreign oil, while at the same time Detroit. It may also be possible to convert the world's multitude of automobiles and trucks to hydrogen power.

ASF would like to encourage president Obama, the United States congress, DOT, NHTSA, JAMA, NADA, NCDA, and Japanese Embassy et al. to seize this moment in history with government subsidy money to modernize the automobile, save jobs, and most importantly save lives.

Story by August West



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Darrell Fields
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