6 comments to “The Loss of a Consumer Champion”

  1. Kelly DuPlessis

    Sad to hear of the passing of Clarence. I will miss working with him on Automobile Design Liability. He put his all in this publication.

  2. Azaima Anderson

    Sad news. I interned for Clarence Ditlow and Carl Nash when I was a senior in high school. Clarence was generous with his knowledge, and set the bar high for hard, effective work.

  3. Byron Bloch

    I’ve known Clarence for many decades, and have admired how he always stood up so persistently to fight for tougher auto safety standards, for the recalls of vehicles with safety defects, and to bring it all to the attention of NHTSA, to the at-risk public, and to Congress and the media.

    One early example was on April 17th, 1973, at the U.S. Congressional Hearing on Amendments to the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966. The Chairman was Congressman John Moss of California. Ralph Nader was accompanied by Clarence and Carl Nash and me at the Hearings. Ralph introduced us and we all testified. We also had a late-night meeting with Clarence and other young crusaders at the National Press Building, to discuss safety issues with bad fuel tanks ala the Ford Pinto, and weak seats ala the Volkswagen Beetle. We were young and spirited. I was 35, and Clarence was 29.

    And then last year, on July 2nd of 2015, we both testified at the NHTSA Hearing on Chrysler Defects and Recalls. It was 42 long but quick years after that 1973 Hearing, and we were both still waging the good fight as always! And Clarence was terrific!

    The fight for safer vehicles has gone on and on and on for decades. With Clarence at the helm, the Center for Auto Safety has become a legendary tiger-like force that’s respected by NHTSA, by Congress, by the courts, by trial lawyers, and by the media. Clarence clearly is the Center for Auto Safety. From time to time over these many years, Clarence and I have had some very good chats about what the issues are, and how to fight for public justice and safer cars.

    While a tough advocate, Clarence was also fun and compassionate and generous. At one time, he asked me to come over and pick up some extra documents, as he was trying to weed down the bulging files at the Center for Auto Safety. To make some room for endless documents yet to follow, of course!

    I still find it hard to grasp that this courageous fighter has lost this battle with cancer.

    Byron Bloch

  4. Richard Zitrin

    Clarence Ditlow, THE conscience of the auto industry, was the most public-spirited consumer advocate I have ever known. On a always-meager budget, without any regard for personal reward, Clarence selflessly fought for vehicle safety his entire professional life. He was also the largest repository of information about where the bodies were buried, often literally in the auto industry and at NHTSA.

    He was my dear friend as well as my comrade in arms, and I will miss him terribly.

  5. Carol Pollack-Nelson

    My intro to product safety came under the leadership of Clarence at the Center for Auto Safety in the 1980s. His dedication to consumer safety was unparalleled and served as an example to me throughout my career. American consumers owe Clarence a debt of thanks for his tireless fight to ensure that vehicles – on which we are so dependent – are safe to drive, and if they are not, that they are removed from the market. My heartfelt condolences to Marilyn.

  6. Louis V. Lombardo

    Thank you for this excellent tribute to a great humanitarian.

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