Safety ‘shenanigans’ must be addressed, Nader says

DETROIT — It takes a surprisingly small number of people to change the world — and that’s one thing consumer advocate Ralph Nader wishes more people realized.
“It’s easier than you think,” Nader told Automotive News. “Historically, a handful of people, again and again, supported by public opinion, turned the country around.”

Nader should know, considering he set in motion tremendous safety reforms after the publication of his 1965 book, Unsafe at Any Speed, which accused the auto industry of prioritizing profits and styling over safety.

Nader, who was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame last week, stopped in to talk with Automotive News on Thursday, July 21, with his good friend and fellow activist Joan Claybrook, 79, who was head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration under President Jimmy Carter.

The trip to Detroit was a bit of a retrospective for Nader, 82, a look back on a world that has, in may ways, changed in the half century since he began shaking up the auto industry. Nader still is engaged and on top of the current issues facing the industry, such as autonomous driving, airbag recalls and distracted driving.

And he says he’s not slowing down: “I’m accelerating, because I see what’s happening, and I see how easy it is to turn things around.”

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