Ralph Nader is the next Auto Hall of Famer
BY: Nisreen Eadeh/Staff Writer
On July 21, Ralph Nader will be inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame for his momentous work in improving auto safety.
Nader, once considered the auto industry’s largest rival, said he was “pretty astounded” when he learned the news. In 1965, Nader authored the best-selling book “Unsafe at Any Speed – The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile.” The book heavily criticized the Chevrolet Corvair, a sports car involved in countless devastating crashes that prompted more than 100 lawsuits against General Motors.
The hard work of Ralph Nader led to the establishment of the National Highway Traffic Safety, as well as a number of safety regulations in cars, such as seatbelts and more efficient accident reporting. Since 1972, U.S. traffic fatalities have significantly decreased as a result of Nader’s research. “Unsafe at Any Speed” was voted one of the top 100 pieces of journalism of the 20th century by a panel of New York University journalists.
According to CNN, Ralph Nader will join auto industry giants in the hall of fame, such as Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, and Lee Iacocca. It has been an auto tradition to demonize Nader’s work, “But today people recognize the value of what he accomplished,” said Bill Chapin, hall of fame president.
Fifty years ago, auto executives said safety didn’t sell, but today, safety is a major aspect in car marketing and advertisements, thanks to Nader. Furthermore, the industry’s record number of recalls in recent years is due to Nader’s establishment of the National Highway Traffic Safety administration. Nader estimates that 3.5 million lives have been saved by these safety innovations.
Ralph Nader is a lifelong activist, attorney, environmentalist, scholar, and five-time presidential candidate for the Green Party. His advocacy in consumer protection and social prosperity has changed the way Americans shop and think about many products, not just cars. As an Arab American, he is a symbol of pride for the community and serves as a role model citizen for future generations.