ABC Evening News for Tuesday, Feb 12, 1985
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(Studio) National Highway Traffic Safety Admin. remembered considering ordering Ford to recall 1970-79 trucks, cars and vans with automatic transmission due to defect; Representative Tim Wirth reported calling for Congress investigation of government's failure to carry out recall, manipulating statistics to defense decision in process.
REPORTER: Peter Jennings
(Saint Joseph, Missouri) Transmission defect of 1970-79 Fords explained, demonstrated; government consideration of situation reviewed. Problem reported continuing; death of Michael Kretzer due to transmission failure cited as example [Donna KRETZER - describes son's death.] [John KRETZER - criticizes Ford's reaction to lawsuit.] [Center for Auto Safety spokesperson Clarence DITLOW - notes number deaths, injuries and accidents since warnings were mailed to Ford owners.] Govt. mentioned refusing to reopen investigation despite acknowledging deaths. [WIRTH - accuses NHTSA of refusing to recognize problem.] [Ford vice president Helen PETRUASKAS - blames drivers for mishaps.] [WIRTH - claims Ford acknowledged transmission problem by its warning labels sent owners.] Ford noted changing transmission design in 1980 to prevent such incidents; Trans. Department' defense of its position outlined. 1982 court of appeals ruling recalled. [John KRETZER - accuses government of not wanting to admit fault; notes his permanent loss.]
REPORTER: Bettina Gregory
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