ABC Evening News for Thursday, Mar 15, 1984
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(Studio) Report introduced
REPORTER: Peter Jennings
(NYC) Controversy over air bags in autos as safety device examined; number lives government estimates could be saved annually with air bags but lack of government action on issue noted. Mercedes-Benz mentioned only auto manufacturer making air bags available upon demand. [Mercedes driver Bob LaROCHE - credits air bags with saving his life.] Details of LaRoche's accident reviewed; injuries sustained by LaRoche's wife due to Mercedes providing air bags only for driver noted. [Representative Timothy WIRTH - criticizes United States auto industry in light of Mercedes.] Transcript of private White House meeting in 1971 between Richard Nixon, Henry Ford II, Lee Iacocca and John Ehrlichman reported produced by Wirth in congress hearings on air bags today. [EHRLICHMAN - recalls meeting] Iacocca quoted with regard to Japan. [WIRTH - notes Nixon's instructions to Ehrlichman to make sure no requirement for air bags in United States existed.] [EHRLICHMAN - agrees his orders from President effectively stopped congress action.] United States auto makers' opposition to air bags discussed; United States company's~prod. of inexpensive air bag noted. Arizona pilot program in which air bags are installed in police vehicles mentioned. [sergeant Bill HANSEN - praises air bag's presence.] [Motor Vehicle Mfr. Association spokesperson Thomas HANNA - dismisses air bags' effectiveness.] [Ins. Institution for Highway Safety spokesperson Ben KELLY - disagrees.] Ford recalled installing air bags in government cars soon; Ford's out-of-court settlement with auto crash victim Becky Burgess discussed. [Burgess' attorney Bill SMITH - feels air bag issue played role in Ford's settlement.]
REPORTER: Peter Lance
(Studio) Trans. Secretary Elizabeth Dole said making decision on mandatory air bags by July.
REPORTER: Peter Jennings
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