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America on the Move
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This object appears in the following sections:

On the Interstate:  I-10, 1956–1990
On the Interstate: I-10, 1956–1990 — Safety

Unsafe at Any Speed
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection

Ralph Nader’s controversial book alerted the public to unsafe features of automotive design and played a key role in establishing government safety standards for cars.

From the book:

“A great problem of contemporary life is how to control the power of economic interests which ignore the harmful effects of their applied science and technology. The automobile tragedy is one of the most serious of these man-made assaults on the human body....Our society's obligation to protect the 'body rights' of its citizens with vigorous resolve and ample resources requires the precise, authoritative articulation and front-rank support which is being devoted to civil rights...

“A principal reason why the automobile has remained the only transportation vehicle to escape being called to meaningful public account is that the public has never been supplied the information nor offered the quality of competition to enable it to make effective demands through the marketplace and through government for a safe, non-polluting and efficient automobile that can be produced economically....The specialists and researchers outside the industry who could have provided the leadership to stimulate this flow of information by and large chose to remain silent, as did government officials...”

Date Made:

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