Friday, November 30, 2012

November 30: Ralph Nader

On this date in History .... 1965:

The book “Unsafe at Any Speed”, written by Ralph Nader, is published. 

Ralph Nader - 1975

Nader, the son of Lebanon immigrants and a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law, became the nation’s consumer advocate when he dived into product safety by researching the Chevy Corvair, which he called “the one-car accident.”  He charged that the technologies were available to make cars safer but the auto industry “had no incentive to use them.”

One example of a simple safety fix was the standardization of the gearshift.  Ford was the first company to use the P R N D L pattern. It separated the driving gears from the reverse/park gears by putting Neutral in between them, thus helping to eliminate accidentally putting a car in reverse instead of drive.  

His book pointed out the resistance car manufacturers had about putting safety features in the cars, such as seat belts.

After his book was published, GM began investigating Nader, who alerted Congress who began looking into the auto industry.  Nader became a household word associated with “consumer protection” and is credited with influencing consumer protection legislation such as the Wholesome Meat Act of 1967, Truth in Lending Act, health warning on cigarettes and eventually the establishment of the Nat’l commission on Product Safety.

Nader has run for President of the United States five times.


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