50 years on, sometimes still ‘unsafe at any speed’

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Fifty years ago today, it could be argued, modern road safety advocacy was born. The publication of Ralph Nader’s ‘Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-in Dangers of the American Automobile’ on 30th November 1965 sparked political and media interest in system failures in US car design and increased awareness of the more than 40,000 people being killed every year in road crashes in the United States, contributing to a process that led to Senate hearings and, in September 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signing into law the National Traffic & Motor Safety Act, establishing the US Department of Transportation and eventually leading to the setting up, in 1970, of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

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