"As head of the Center for Auto Safety, based in Washington, for 40 years, Mr. Ditlow exposed hundreds of automotive defects. He was instrumental in forcing manufacturers to recall the Ford Pintos with infamous exploding gas tanks, Toyotas that suddenly accelerated out of control and General Motors pickup trucks with sidesaddle gas tanks that blew up in collisions, killing more than 1,000 people. With a budget of less than half the cost of one G.M. Super Bowl commercial, Mr. Ditlow took on auto industry giants in lawsuits that tightened standards for ignition systems, airbags and fuel efficiency; lobbied government agencies to ban driving while texting or using cellphones; and achieved “lemon laws” in all 50 states that made it easier for buyers to return defective vehicles. “He was the nightmare of the misbehaving auto industry and the dream of safety-conscious motorists,” Ralph Nader, the consumer advocate and Mr. Ditlow’s mentor, said in an interview in October. “He was also honest, ethical and self-effacing.”... He often sought data under the Freedom of Information laws and sometimes found shocking unintended revelations... Clarence Mintzer Ditlow III was born on Jan. 26, 1944, one of three children of Clarence Mintzer Ditlow Jr. and the former Myrtice Lamb, and grew up in Camp Hill, Pa. His father was a service manager at a Chevrolet dealership in Harrisburg, Pa. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania in 1965. After working for five years as a patent examiner in the United States Patent Office, he received a juris doctorate from Georgetown University in 1970 and a master’s degree in law at Harvard in 1971."
Saturday, November 12, 2016
Clarence M. Ditlow III, Auto Safety Crusader, Dies at 72; New York Times, 11/11/16
Robert D. McFadden, New York Times; Clarence M. Ditlow III, Auto Safety Crusader, Dies at 72: