Hall of Fame for safety campaigner
Safety advocate Ralph Nader will be inducted into Detroit’s Automotive Hall of Fame on 21 July.
The five-time presidential candidate who famously has never owned or even driven a car was selected because of his influence on car design following the publication of Unsafe at Any Speed: The DesignedIn Dangers of the American Automobile in 1965.
This book eventually led to the creation of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the government body that maps out and applies safety standards to all new cars sold in the USA.
Nader’s book would probably have received little attention were it not for General Motors’ attempts to discredit him. GM was disgruntled by what the 31-year-old had written about the Chevrolet Corvair and employed private investigators to spy on him and sent prostitutes to knock on his front door while photographers waited nearby. GM was forced to pay Nader $425,000 in damages.
Nader went on to have a career in politics and consumer advocacy – he recently opened the American Museum of Tort Law, where a Corvair is displayed prominently. He has yet to comment on whether or not he will be attending the induction ceremony. Richard Heseltine
Ralph Nader (left) spearheaded safety changes in America that led to big-bumper versions of European cars.