CONSUMER SAFETY INFORMATION AS A GOVERNMENT POLICY TOOL

The consumer's attitude toward automobile safety information is discussed. Various surveys have found that the consumer is concerned about motor vehicle safety, that he has a good understanding of technology for improving safety and that he has a desire for additional safety information. Title II of the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act authorizes the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to provide public information on the comparative performance of automobiles with respect to crashworthiness, damageability, and ease of maintenance. This information can dispel the notion that all cars within a class are equally safe. With the defect investigations of the Ford Pinto (fuel tank fire hazard) and the Firestone 500 tire, as well as the unacceptable rating by Consumer Union of the Chrysler Omni/Horizon because of poor handling, it was found that a perceived lack of safety costs sales. Automakers respond to consumer behavior in their advertising. It is urged that NHTSA develop a meaningful rating system which will enable the consumer to impose a positive pressure on the industry to improve safety. The data must be presented in an easily understood format, without being meaningless or misleading. The consumer must be told how the information was developed and the magnitudes of differences among automobiles. The measurement and understanding of consumer attitudes are central to the development of crashworthiness ratings.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Also published in HS-028 918, "Government, Technology, and the Future of the Automobile," New York, 1980 p 424-30. Presented at Harvard Business School Symposium on Government, Technology, and the Automotive Future, Boston, 19-20 October 1978.
  • Corporate Authors:

    McGraw-Hill, Incorporated

    330 West 42nd Street
    New York, NY  United States  10036
  • Authors:
    • FINKELSTEIN, M M
  • Publication Date: 1980

Media Info

  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: 7 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00393054
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-028 944
  • Files: HSL, USDOT
  • Created Date: Feb 28 1985 12:00AM