Morning Shows Hype Need for a 'Federal Standard' on Rollovers
Just how are car companies staying in business without caring about their customers?
â€śThe manufacturers would prefer to save the $100 that it would cost to make a strong roof and put it into their bottom line,â€ť charged Clarence Ditlow of the Ralph Nader-founded Center for Auto Safety to CBSâ€™s Bob Orr on the December 13 â€śEarly Show.â€ť Orr was reporting on new safety tests that can measure an automobileâ€™s damage during a rollover.
â€śA hundred bucks?â€ť Orr asked. Yes, repeated Ditlow, â€śa hundred bucks, thatâ€™s all.â€ť
Orr failed to follow up the loaded charge with an auto industry or auto company spokesman. Whatâ€™s more, Orr presented the deaths from rollovers as â€śskyrocketing,â€ť without noting how rare rollover accidents themselves are.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, only 3 percent of road accidents involve rollovers, and in 72 percent of the rollover cases in 2002, the victims â€śwere not wearing safety belts.â€ť
Orr also failed to ask Ditlow whether requiring stronger rooftops for cars and SUVs might lower fuel efficiency by adding to the weight of the vehicle. Ditlowâ€™s organization has been critical of the auto industry for what it considers low fuel economy standards.
The December 13 â€śTodayâ€ť show on NBC ran a similar story by correspondent Jay Gray. While Gray avoided suggestions that the auto industry was concerned merely with â€śthe bottom line,â€ť he also failed to include an industry perspective in his story while prominently featuring liberal activist Joan Claybrook of Public Citizen.