Awards are often given to people who deserve praise for their contributions to their fields. Emmys, Grammys, and even Nobel Prizes are awarded to those who make such an impact in their respective occupations that it changes and improves the quality of the entire field. Awards give others a glimpse of what to strive for and raise the bar for everyone who follows.
Recently, Laura Christian was awarded the first Clarence M. Ditlow Safety Champion Award. Mr. Ditlow was the executive director of The Center of Auto Safety for 40 years. He died in November, but he was one of the leading experts on automotive safety. He also advocated for safety and had a deep understanding of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and consumer rights.
Ms. Christian fought for reforms in how the automotive industry handles recalls and unrepaired defects. She started battling for these reforms after her daughter, Amber Marie Rose, died in 2005 when her Chevy Cobalt crashed into a tree and the airbags didn’t deploy.
The defect that caused the airbag malfunction was in the ignition switch. It can turn to “off” or to the “accessory” position during operation. This causes a loss of power steering, power brakes, and airbags.
Ms. Rose’s death was one of the 13 that eventually caused GM to recognize the defect and recall all of the cars that suffered from it. Since it was recognized, over 2.6 million vehicles were recalled for having the faulty ignition switch. GM’s ignition switch problem actually went unrecognized and unrecalled for more than 10 years.
Ms. Christian lobbied for other families to join her movement. Thanks to them and the reforms they rallied for, countless lives have been saved. However, if you or a loved one were a victim of an accident where a defect was present, contact the lawyers at the Alexander Law Group, LLP online, or call 888.777.1776. All calls are free and confidential.