..Honestly! It isn't!
I made a promise back in an early post that I would not discuss politics. This is not about my political views but it is about how politics can affect us all.
There was a decision made by the director of NHTSA. It, basically, says that no engineer, scientist or anyone else who does research into safety standards may speak to the press or the public on record. The only person who can do that is the director. An attorney appointed by a politician.
This is BIG news for us safely people but it is not caught by the front page press. It appeared in a blog in the automotive section of the New York Times online.
To this, I posted a brief but, I think, cogent comment. While many were raging about the lack of journalistic access and how our government is becoming more and more fascist, my angle is more along the lines of safety.
Here's my comment verbatim:
"This is exceptionally disturbing even beyond the journalistic perspective.
The NHTSA was responsible for starting the entire industry of EMS in the US today. It responded to a paper called, "Accidental Death and Disability - The Neglected Disease of Modern Society" that was published by the National Academy of Sciences by establishing a set of guidelines for highway safety and driver safety.
From this came the seatbelt law, the establishment of the guidelines for emergengy medical transport and countless safety laws that were imposed upon, and fought by, the automobile manufacturers.
As a paramedic, I'm appalled that this agency seems to be suffering a "throttling" effect by a political appointee. The "conspiracy theorist" in me sees a connection between this and the influence of the automobile manufacturer's lobby. (then again, I'm sure I see a lot of things like that)
The main disturbing point is that the engineers and scientists of this agency produce data that has a direct affect on the safety and injury prevention of all of us. I can't tell you how many times I was amazed to find an unhurt driver or passenger due to an airbag, seatbelt or rollover protection.
If the straightforward, factual information produced by these men and women is filtered through a person who may be influenced by a political agenda, I fear that we, as the public, may not recieve the full benefit of their work. This is what this agency does! It actually saves a lot of lives. It should be allowed to continue to do so."