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Standing Up for Free Speech and Open Government

Today, the Institute for Nonprofit News joins journalists across the country in asking you, the public, to stand up for your rights to free speech and an open government. This started as a campaign by The Boston Globe to ask the President of the United States to knock off attacking the news media. But the President’s attacks on the press aren’t ultimately about the press.

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In the Drive for Robot Cars, Will Regulators Keep Their Hands on the Wheel?

Few cabinet members can claim the distinction of shaping a revolution. But that opportunity will fall to Elaine Chao, President Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Transportation. She assumes her new role at the dawn of the autonomous motor vehicle era, which promises to truly revolutionize the movement of people and goods by road and ultimately reduce crashes caused by driver error.

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The Loss of a Consumer Champion

In Memoriam: Clarence Ditlow Clarence Ditlow (Getty Images) The long-time head of the Center for Auto Safety died last week at the age of 72. His passing triggered an outpouring of tributes from colleagues, friends and others, including these: Ben Kelley, board member of the Center for Auto [...]

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Miles to Go on Highway Safety

(Blackstation/Getty Images) The 50th anniversary of federal auto safety regulation approaches, but there’s not much to celebrate. Signing the regulatory laws on Sept. 9, 1966, President Johnson predicted they would “cure the highway disease.”  They haven’t. The “disease” was a deadly pandemic, and still is. The year the [...]

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When a Workplace Tragedy is Also a Crime

Construction workers in New York City working 11 stories above ground, but without required fall protection. (Photo by Charles Evans Jr.) When we hear about shootings, bank robberies, or home invasions, we expect the perpetrators to be arrested, tried, and punished appropriately if they are found guilty. When [...]

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How Secrecy Pacts Keep Regulators, Public in the Dark

Getty Images For businesses that make and sell dangerous products, secrecy is a cherished ally. They work hard to prevent safety regulators and litigants from learning about their products’ hazards. One way they accomplish this is by concealing information revealed in lawsuits for those killed or injured by [...]

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For a More Nuanced Discussion of Vaccine Safety

Federal health officials have worked overtime to assure the public that vaccines are safe, and barely acknowledge any exceptions. Federal health officials have worked overtime to assure the public that vaccines are safe, and barely acknowledge any exceptions. But there are exceptions, as our family knows well.

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Dreading Those Drones

There’s something very wrong with recreational drones. You can see the attraction. They can be extremely easy to fly and they take cool pictures. The Consumer Electronics Association forecasts about 700,000 will be sold to hobbyists, gift-givers and random shoppers this year, up from 430,000 in 2014 but far fewer [...]

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Older Cars Left Behind When Safety Motors Ahead

iStock photo. Federal auto safety regulations cover new cars, of course. But what about older cars? Of the more than 250 million vehicles on the roads, three-quarters are more than five years old, according to the data firm IHS Automotive, and more than 50 million are pre-1999 models. [...]

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A Little History and a Reality Check on GM Safety Scandal

The Renaissance Center, headquarters of General Motors, in Detroit (iStock photo). When General Motors CEO Mary Barra appeared before Congress in early April to apologize for the company’s 10-year cover-up of a lethal safety defect, it was a headline-grabbing moment. But it was not unprecedented. Hovering over  Barra [...]

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GM Ignition Switch Scandal Echoes Infamous Fire-Prone Pickups Case

The GM Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan. Carlos Osorio, AP Photo. Recent disclosures about the ignition switch defect in millions of General Motors cars--and the company’s early and secret knowledge of the hazard--are disturbing by themselves. But they are also an eerie echo of the terrible carnage from [...]

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Like Them or Hate Them, Injury Lawsuits Sometimes Expose Health and Safety Hazards

The scandal over General Motors' concealment for more than a decade of dangerously defective ignition switches in some of its cars highlights an often-overlooked fact: Injury lawsuits sometimes reveal health and safety hazards that would otherwise remain secret. As Ben Kelley notes, the deadly ignition defects were not exposed by engineers for GM or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but by an engineer for plaintiffs in a wrongful-death suit.