Automobile Safety Foundation

P.O. BOX 12183 LA JOLLA, CA 92039-2183 (858) 831-1871

March 23, 1999

To: News Media


There is an international safety crisis caused by auto theft, and the hazardous spring loaded, auto steering lock equipped on most vehicles since 1969.

Steering locks are obsolete, and represent the worst mechanical auto design defect ever, as they are not only spring loaded, allowing for malfunction lockup, but they also are recklessly engineered to combine the urgency of engine deactivation, with the steering lock, so that emergency engine deactivation can simultaneously lock the steering! This danger is so prevalent that the NHTSA has termed it, "inadvertent lockup" and reports that inadvertent lockup continues to harm and kill. Most drivers do not even know that vehicles have steering locks.

ASF helped author a warning about this extreme danger, in the California Driver Handbook in 1988. Since that time, ASF research has revealed that this WARNING needs to be enlarged and printed in red, as it is not being noticed, and the DMV must also test on this WARNING  on their physical driving test.

Though ASF has requested this testing, the DMV has thus far, acted with callous disregard to public safety by not questioning sixteen year old drivers about this danger. Why can't the DMV ask a simple question, that is based on their own WARNING, cost them nothing, and can save lives? How much longer will the DMV be allowed to perpetuate this negligence, or is the DMV being controlled by special interest groups? Is the DMV prepared to take all legal responsibility for the lives lost due to this negligence? What is the position of Governor Davis and Assemblywoman Davis, of Consumer Protection on this issue?

ASF awaits the DMV response to this urgent safety crisis.


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