2007/01/08

Only America Haters Are Afraid of Cars

Washington (f-A-ke. P.) -

Today National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration officials announced a new policy that would prevent consumers, lawyers, and public safety advocates from getting access to data collected by the government about vehicles sold in the US. The data consists of warranty claims and customer complaints and is mandated by the Transportation, Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act of 2000.

Spokesman for NHTSA, Louie "V8" McDougald, said of the new policy:
We're just looking out for the American consumer here. You make too much of this kind of data available, and people might stop buying cars. Where would we be then, huh? I gotta feed my ki--uh--you know this might be a terrorist thing. Maybe Osama wants people to stop driving--make 'em take planes. Easier targets...you know?
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Read the article folks. I'm making light of this but am still amazed at how the administration is rolling over for the auto industry. Every day...more secrecy.

12 Comments:

This is the first I've heard of this, but right off the bat I have to say I don't see why the automakers or the government would even bother trying to keep this information secret. People already share their opinions on everthing from nuts to soup on blogs like epinion. If a lemon exists in this world, people will find a way to disseminate that information, and it will only make the offender look worse in the eyes of the consumer when they try to hide it.

Also, what happens to companies like JD Powers? They collect information from consumers on new vehicles and rate the models according to defects. Will they have to close up shop?
That is total BS! I agree with Kathy, though. It's hard to supress that sort of thing. I guess it would be harder to sue without that inside memo that says, "BTW, the F*rd POS is also known as the Chariot of Fire. Maybe we should look into that." But if they can gain control of the 'Net....
Kathy, Julien, the issue is that the information kept by the government constitute 'official' statistics that are admissible in court as evidence. That's why the auto industry is so hot to get them classified as trade secrets. No info...no lawsuits.

You're both right that consumers have all sorts of other information available to them.
I'm not amazed at all. This is what they were elected for.

Also, don't be surprised to see this supported by all members of the Michigan delegation to Congress, regardless of party. It is the Michigan delegation that has been behind raising the CAFE standards. John Conyers may be a hero to many for his desire to impeach Bush, but just like Biden rolls over for MBNA, Conyers rolls over fore the car companies.
God, that's infuriating. Not terribly surprising, though...seems to be the way this administration does business. (And dbk is right: the Michiganders do tend to roll over for the auto makers.)

btw, David Lazarus is one of the people who make the Chronicle (sometimes) worth reading. He's done a whole lot of great reporting on anti-consumer practices by the big corporations.
Tom...agreed. I make a point of seeking Lazarus' columns.

DBK, I hope that the Dems take a look at this, though I'm not sure there's much they can do being a purely regulatory issue.
assholes...let's see how long they can try and supress this!
Is there anything they haven't hidden or classified? How stupid do they think we are? This is truly a WTF? moment.
I think if you look around, Dubya's rolled over for any Industry/Business, including Silicon Valley. "Business can do no wrong." That suppressed information is still available under the FOIA - but it will take a lawsuit, and I agree, it shouldn't be that way.

this supported by all members of the Michigan delegation to Congress,
I think you're wrong, dbk - by a wide margin.
AZG, I like to agree, but I'm not sure how what Congress can do to stop the administration on this one.

PoP, most everything by this point. I'm waiting for Bush's speeches to be reduced to long series of beeps.

TFWY, can you expand on that last statement. If some of the members of the Michigan delegation aren't/wouldn't be supporting it, I'd be interested in knowing why. One thing that springs to mind is that stats on foreign autos are a part of this as well, and they certainly haven't been without their own recalls.
that's fucking sick. Almost as bad as disbanding the EPA library system and not reporting the amount of money the treasury is printing.

Every day our gummint grows more shrouded in mystery.

This is not good. Only bad can come from a secretive government.

It's not like they're the Knight's Templar in charge of protecting the Holy Grail. It's bad emough $2.3 Trillion in Pentagon spending cannot be accounted for due to Black Ops programs.

Hell, it's bad enough the Kennedy Assasination files are still sealed.

At this rate we won't have the right to know anything about our gov and what it does.
I'm surprised they even let you know that they don't have to let you know anything.

Ya know?

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