Automobile Safety Foundation

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

February 15, 2000

To: News Media


To: Center for Auto Safety, MADD, NADA, Advocates for Highway Safety, SAE, AAA Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Consumer Federation, AAA, National Safety Council, National Center For Injury Protection Control, CSN

There is an international safety crisis, caused by auto theft and the hazardous sprint-loaded steering lock, pro theft device, equipped on most autos since 1969. The United States is now behind international theft prevention standards, as Europe has law that all vehicles in Europe must be equipped with the new computer chip technology, and effective anti-theft device. The NHTSA has not passed any anti-theft rulemaking in over thirty years. Steering locks make auto theft easy (auto theft has tripled since 1969) by eliminating the need for electrical system knowledge to steal a vehicle, and therefore most auto thefts take place in under sixty seconds. The steering lock is ill-designed, hazardous, and has no merit whatsoever!

STEERING LOCKS CAUSE HARM AND DEATH BY STEERING LOCKUP ON MOVING VEHICLES.   All steering locks are prone to malfunction, and can self activate at any time, while also causing accidents by what the NHTSA has termed "inadvertent lockup." Warning and education about inadvertent lockup can prevent this. Most drivers have no idea, that their auto is equipped with a steering lock, that is activated by the same ignition switch that turns the vehicle's engine on and off. Since adult drivers do not know this, how could young people obtaining a new license, know of this hidden peril?  In California, ASP has authored a WARNING about inadvertent lockup in the DMV California Driver Handbook., that they test on.  The NHTSA has reported that, "inadvertent lockup continues to cause, property damage, serious injuries, and fatalities." Your organizations maintain auto safety concerns, yet have you warned your children, families, friends, and the public about inadvertent lockup?

ASF APPLAUDS GENERAL MOTORS, THE WORLDS NUMBER ON AUTO MAKER'S DECISION, TO REPLACE THE STEERING LOCK WITH A SAFE ALTERNATIVE, NOW IN PRODUCTION ON MOST OF THEIR VEHICLES.  This new GM design is now the industry standard.  ASF has now petitioned the NHTSA and all other auto makers, to follow the GM example, and now ASF requests all organizations, that maintain and concern with auto safety, to petition them as well.

Allow this NEWS RELEASE to stand as public record of notification to the above.

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