How The U.S. Government Killed The Safest Car Ever Built

When Ralph Nader wrote the book Unsafe at Any Speed, the US Government sat up and took notice. Highway deaths were unacceptably high, and someone had to do something about it. In the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, a government program actually developed the RSV, a car that had many new safety features. The government tinkered with the design, the features, and tried to sell the idea of a safer car to the automobile industry and the public. What happened to this program? It's a long story, but in the end, the RSVs were destroyed.
Then-NHTSA chief Jerry Curry contended the vehicles were obsolete, and that anyone who could have learned something from them had done so by then. Claybrook, the NHTSA chief who'd overseen the RSV cars through 1980, told Congress the destruction compared to the Nazis burning books.

"Junking those cars was a terrible idea," said Kelley, who now teaches at Tufts medical school. "What is the benefit of keeping anything that's historically important? The future wants to know more about the past, and when you destroy the past, you destroy the future's access to knowing about it."

"I thought they were intentionally destroying the evidence that you could do much better," said Friedman.

Read the complete story at Jalopnik. Link -via Metafilter

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Oh man, you mean we just barely missed out on everyone driving around in Government produced vehicles? Dang! So close!

It was just 20 years ago that the Government realized that they could get most of their needs met by commercial products.
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Nader's book was BS. The Corsairs were OK and everything he wrote about had be fixed before the book came out.

I'm all for safer cars, but the government didn't build anything reasonable.
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Also look into the history of the Bricklin SV-1 that was built in New Brunswick in the 1970's. It had many of the same safety features and looked a whole lot better! One of the reasons they stopped making it was because Bricklin had supply problems caused by America's larger automakers.
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