#StaySafeSaturday: Crash Avoidance and Electronic Stability Control

Avoiding a crash is ALWAYS preferable to attempting to “manage” the crash.  How a vehicle manages a crash is often referred to as “crashworthiness.” This concept will be addressed in later posts.  

The most significant crash avoidance technology relating to vehicle stability is electronic stability control (ESC). This technology reacts faster than the operator of a vehicle.  It does so by regulating braking, engine speed, and transmission adjustments. The concept of ESC has existed for decades, primarily in the aviation industry. When a passenger airplane encounters turbulence, avionics of the airplane stabilizes the airplane before a pilot can react. Historically without such a system, the pilot would attempt to correct the stability of the airplane. Many times the pilot would overreact, which would cause further instability to the airplane. This is commonly referred to as “pilot induced error.” The same occurs with drivers attempting to regain control of a vehicle that is starting to slide or rotate in an emergency steer maneuver. The driver is undertaking all reasonable actions as a driver perceives. However, the driver’s perception reaction can actually further the instability of the vehicle.

ESC identifies and reacts faster than a driver. Similar to the airplane turbulence scenario, the vehicle will stabilize itself to prevent a crash.   

ESC has existed in vehicles since the late 1990s. However, it was not until March 2007 that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) required vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less be equipped with an ESC system. NHTSA estimated that as many as 2,534 lives would be saved annually once all passenger vehicles had ESC systems. In 2004 NHTSA concluded that ESC was approximately 30% effective in preventing fatal single vehicle crashes for passenger cars and 63% for sport utility vehicles (SUVs).  

NHTSA allowed a “phase-in” for vehicle manufacturers to incorporate ESC from 2009 to 2011 model years. Beginning in 2012 all light vehicles were required to have ESC. Therefore, if searching for a used vehicle, only consider model years 2012 to the present as ESC is mandatory in selecting a safe vehicle.


#StaySafeSaturday: Where Consumers Can Find Vehicle Safety Information

Consumers can easily be confused regarding selection of vehicles for purposes of safety. Many times, consumers rely upon the “star ratings” from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However the “star ratings” do not provide the details consumers need for selecting a safe vehicle.

Vehicle safety is based largely on design attributes of a vehicle. For example, the stability of a vehicle is different from how the vehicle performs in an impact during a crash. Vehicle stability is considered “crash avoidance.” Occupant protection involves how the vehicle protects you in the event a crash.  

So where should consumers look to determine a safe vehicle? A good source of information is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It provides pictures and short videos of crash tests undertaken by the institute of various vehicles.  

Technical data and crash films are found on the Vehicle Database of NHTSA. It can be found here.

This is not a particularly user-friendly site. However, you can inquire by vehicle make, model, and year to see crash reports/films. For example, when looking up a 2018 Honda Pilot, you will find a number of photos pre-test and post-test. The following photos are pre- and post- testing for side-impact:

 

 

 

 

 

 

There will be test reports associated with every test. However, what information should consumers attempt to obtain from the photographs, films, and reports listed on this site? Understanding crash dynamics and how a vehicle will protect you and your loved ones in a crash is challenging. The devil is in the details. Remember that the entire crash sequence will be over in approximately 100 milliseconds, faster than the blink of an eye. Therefore, how the vehicle protects you in avoiding the collision or during the collision is critical.  

In further posts, CKK will provide additional information regarding vehicle attributes consumers should look for to protect themselves. 


John Lewis: Black History Month Highlight

Throughout the month, Cline, King & King has highlighted Black persons throughout history who have contributed greatly to the United States and beyond. CKK concludes our celebration of Black History Month with John Lewis.
 
John Robert Lewis was born near Troy, Alabama on February 21, 1940, the third of ten children born to Eddie and Willie Mae Lewis, sharecroppers in rural Pike County. As a child, Lewis dreamed of being a preacher and by age five was sharing the Gospel to his family’s chickens on their farm as his congregation. By age six he had only seen two white people in his life as his county was predominately Black, but as he grew older, he experienced racism such as the public library which was for white people only.
 
Lewis first heard Martin Luther King Jr. on the radio in 1955 and closely followed King’s Montgomery bus boycott of the same year. Two years later Lewis met Rosa Parks, and a year after that met MLK himself. He wrote to MLK about being denied admission to Troy University, and discussed suing the university for discrimination, but was warned by MLK that doing so could endanger his family. Lewis instead continued his education at a small historically Black college in Tennessee, and was later ordained as a Baptist minister.
 
As a student Lewis began what would be a long and dedicated journey as a civil rights activist. He organized sit-ins at segregated lunch counters, organized bus boycotts, and other nonviolent protests to support voting rights and racial equality. He was arrested and jailed numerous times for his efforts, but held to his philosophy that it was important to engage in “good trouble, necessary trouble,” to achieve much-needed change in the world.
 
In 1961 Lewis became one of the 13 original “Freedom Riders”, a group of seven Black people and six white people who planned to ride on interstate buses from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans to challenge policies of segregated seating by southern states which violated federal policy. The mission of the rides was to test compliance of two Supreme Court rulings. Boynton v. Virginia declaring segregated bathrooms, waiting rooms, and lunch counters unconstitutional. Morgan v. Virginia declaring unconstitutional segregation on interstate buses and trains. At age 21, he was the first of the Riders to be assaulted while in Rock Hill, South Carolina as he tried to enter a whites-only waiting room where two white men attacked him, injuring his face and kicking him in the ribs.
 
This was the first of many assaults on the Riders, as they were often beaten by angry mobs and arrested themselves. One particularly volatile assault was in Birmingham, where the Riders were beaten by an unrestrained mob with baseball bats, chains, lead pipes and stones. Although the Riders were the victims, they were again arrested and taken across the border to Tennessee. They were again assaulted in Montgomery where Lewis thought he might actually die and was left lying at the Greyhound bus station unconscious. 48 years after these attacks, Lewis received a televised apology from Elwin Wilson, a white southerner and former Klansman.
 
On May 29, 1961 Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy petitioned the Interstate Commerce Commission to ban segregation in interstate bus travel. By November 1, 1961 the ICC ordered removal of “Jim Crow” signs from bus stations, waiting rooms and restrooms in bus terminals. The Freedom Riders had obtained success in garnering national attention to demonstrate continued suppression by segregation in the South.
 
In 1963 Lewis became chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and became one of the “Big Six” leaders organizing the March on Washington for that summer. Lewis had made a name for himself and was respected for his courage and tenacious adherence to the philosophy of reconciliation and nonviolence, even though he had already been arrested 24 times in his pursuits. As the youngest speaker at the March on Washington, Lewis was chosen to speak ahead of the final speaker, MLK himself with his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Lewis had prepared a response to President Kennedy’s 1963 Civil Rights Bill, denouncing its failure to provide protection for African Americans against police brutality or with the right to vote. It was revised to indicate that the group supported the Civil Rights Bill, but “with great reservations.”
 
On March 7, 1965 Lewis and fellow activist Hosea Williams led over 600 marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama in what would become known as “Bloody Sunday.” At the end of the bridge, the Alabama State Troopers ordered the marchers to disperse. When they instead stopped to pray, the police discharged tear gas and mounted troopers charged, beating the marchers with nightsticks; Lewis himself suffered a fractured skull and bore scars on his head for the rest of his life.
Lewis was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1986 and was re-elected 16 times. He characterized himself as a strong and adamant liberal, but also fiercely independent. His fight for human rights was not limited to race as he also spoke out in support of LGBTQ rights and national health insurance.
 
When Barack Obama was elected as the first African-American President of the United States Lewis commented, “If you ask me whether the election…is the fulfillment of Dr. King’s dream, I say, ‘No, it’s just a down payment.’ There’s still too many people 50 years later…that are being left out and left behind.” Lewis was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011 by President Obama.
 
In his personal life, Lewis met Lillian Miles at a New Year’s Eve Party and they married in 1968. They had one son, John-Miles Lewis, and Lillian passed on December 31, 2012. On December 29, 2019 he announced he had been diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. He stated, “I have been in some kind of fight – for freedom, equality, basic human rights – for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now.” He passed after an eight month battle on July 17, 2020, as the final surviving “Big Six” civil rights icon. His casket was carried in a horse-drawn caisson over the same bridge as “Bloody Sunday,” and he eventually lay in state in the United States Capitol Rotunda on July 27-28, 2020.
 
In 2013 the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was unconstitutional requiring Federal approval before local jurisdictions could institute changes to voting procedures such as voter identification laws, drawing new district maps, and restricting early voting. It did so by maintaining key sections of the statute were based upon antiquated data.
In response to the 2013 SCOTUS decision, the House of Representatives passed legislation to update the Voting Advancement Rights Act based upon contemporary data. John Lewis presided over the passage of that bill. However, the Voting Advancement Rights Act stalled in the Senate in 2019. It is anticipated that the Voting Advancement Rights Act will be brought forward in the Senate in 2021. There can be no greater tribute to John Lewis than having a bill passed that protects and affirms the right for which he worked his entire life.
 
John Lewis once said, “When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to say something; you have to do something.“
 
To further quote Lewis, “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”Throughout the month, Cline, King and King has highlighted Black persons through history that have contributed greatly to the United States and beyond. CKK concludes our celebration of Black History month with John Lewis.

Mary McLeod Bethune: Black History Month Highlight

Mary McLeod Bethune was one of the most important Black educators, civil and women’s rights leaders, and government officials of the twentieth century.

Mary McLeod was born on July 10, 1875 in Mayesville, South Carolina, one of the last of seventeen children. After the Civil War, her mother worked for her former owner until they could buy the land they worked. By age nine Mary could pick a staggering 250 pounds of cotton a day.
As a child she would also accompany her mother to deliver “white peoples’” wash. On one such delivery, she was allowed into the white children’s nursery where she picked up a book. It was snatched away by a white child who sneered Mary couldn’t read. Deciding that the only difference separating white and Black people was the ability to read and write, Mary was inspired to learn.
Mary attended Mayesville’s one-room black schoolhouse and was the only child in her family to attend school, walking five miles roundtrip. Each day, she would come home and teach her family what she learned. Her teacher Emma Wilson helped Mary attend Scotia Seminary on a scholarship from 1888-1893. Mary then attended what is now the Moody Bible Institute, hoping to become a missionary to Africa. After being told that Black missionaries were not needed, she planned to teach African Americans at home.
 
Mary married Albertus Bethune in 1898, ultimately relocating to Florida. While in Florida, she was determined to start a school for girls. In October 1904, she rented a small house for $11 per month. She made benches and desks from discarded crates and acquired other necessary items through charity. The Educational and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls was started by Mary for $1.50. The school bordered Daytona’s dump, so Mary and parents of the students raised money by selling sweet potato pies, ice cream, and fried fish to the crews who worked there.
 
Initially the school had six students and within a year enrollment grew to 30. Students made ink for their pens from elderberry juice, pencil lead from burned wood, and asked local businesses for furniture. Mary later wrote, “I considered cash money as the smallest part of my resources. I had faith in a loving God, faith in myself, and a desire to serve.”
 
Mary’s school started bright and early at 5:30 in the morning with a Bible study and did not end until 9 at night. They were taught home economics, science, business, math, English, and foreign languages. A donation of $62,000 by John D. Rockefeller and her friendship with Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt helped give her entrée to a progressive network.
 
Not satisfied with only focusing on education, and learning there was no hospital to help people of color in Daytona Beach, Mary purchased a cabin near her school for $5,000 in 1911. The first black hospital in Daytona was opened with two beds, growing to twenty within a few years. Black and white doctors worked there, along with Mary’s student nurses. Both Black and white people in the community relied on help during various crises, including the 1918 influenza outbreak.
 
Mary was elected as national president of the National Association of Colored Women in 1924. When the NACW bought property at 13185 Vermont Ave in Washington, D.C., she led it to be the first Black-controlled organization with headquarters in the nation’s capital.
 
Mary enjoyed a close and loyal friendship with Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, with Eleanor requesting a seat next to Mary at the 1938 Southern Conference on Human Welfare held in Birmingham, Alabama, even though Alabama still kept segregation laws on its books at the time. Mary would relay concerns from Black voters to the Roosevelts and advise the voters of the work being done on their behalf. She formed a coalition of Black leaders called the Federal Council of Negro Affairs, which came to be known as the “Black Cabinet.” It was an advisory board to the Roosevelt administration on issues facing Black persons in America.
 
Mary retired in Florida, where due to state segregation, Blacks were not allowed to visit the beach. Mary and several other business owners purchased properties along a two mile stretch of beach, which were sold to Black families. However, white families were welcomed to visit the waterfront at this beach.
 
Mary passed in 1955 of a heart attack. Her headstone bears the following inscription from her own Last Will and Testament, “I leave you love. I leave you hope. I leave you the challenge of developing confidence in one another. I leave you a thirst for education. I leave you a respect for the use of power. I leave you faith. I leave you racial dignity. I leave you a desire to live harmoniously with your fellow men. I leave you finally, a responsibility to our young people.”

Charlotte Ray: Black History Month Highlight

Charlotte Ray was the first Black American female attorney in the United States, the first female admitted to the District of Columbia Bar (which had recently removed “male” from its requirements), and the first female admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia. She was born January 13, 1850 in New York City to Charlotte Burroughs and Reverend Charles Bennet Ray. Her father Rev. Ray was an important figure in the abolitionist movement, a conductor on the Underground Railroad, and edited a newspaper called, “The Colored American.” Charlotte had six siblings, including two sisters. All the girls went to college as education was important to her father.
Left is the only known sketch of Charlotte Ray.
 
Charlotte graduated from the Institution for the Education of Colored Youth in Washington, D.C. in 1869, one of the few places a Black woman could get a proper education. Afterward, Charlotte taught at Howard University where she later registered in the Law Department as “C. E. Ray” to combat discrimination towards women applying to law school. Her admission was used as a precedent in other states for other women who sought admission to law school. She graduated on February 27, 1872 as the first woman to graduate from the Howard University School of Law.
 
Charlotte began her practice of commercial law in 1872. She was the first woman to practice and argue before the D.C. Supreme Court in the case of Gadley v. Gadley, pleading the case of an illiterate black woman petitioning for divorce from an abusive husband. In addition to “habitual drunkenness” and “cruelty of treatment,” Charlotte’s petition vividly evoked an incident where the husband broke the bed, forcing the wife to lie on the floor where he then ripped up the planks with an ax with the intention of causing the wife to fall through and break her neck. Charlotte and her client were victorious at the Supreme Court in her petition.
 
Despite Charlotte’s eloquence and authoritative presence, her Howard connections and advertisements, she was unable to maintain a steady client flow to support herself due to the prejudice of people at the time not wanting to trust a black woman with their case. She later gave up her active practice and returned to teaching in the Brooklyn school system. Charlotte married in the late 1880s, though little is known of her husband besides his last name of Fraim, which she took. She was involved in the women’s suffrage movement and joined the National Association of Colored Women. Charlotte passed away on January 4, 1911 of bronchitis at the age of 60.
 
Charlotte’s legacy lives on in countless ways, not least of which the glass ceilings she shattered both as an African-American and a woman. Since 1989 the Greater Washington Area Chapter of the Women Lawyers Division of the National Bar Association annually recognizes an outstanding local African-American female lawyer with the Charlotte E. Ray award. In 2006, Phi Alpha Delta fraternity at Northeastern University School of Law chose to honor Charlotte by naming their newly chartered chapter after her in recognition of her place in the history of the practice of law.

Dogs in the White House

Harry Truman was once famously quoted as saying, “You want a friend in Washington? Get a dog.” Now, President Truman did not have his own dog in the White House, but many canines over the years have called the West Wing home. On President’s Day, we would like to honor President’s Best Friend; their dogs.

George Washington was an avid fox hunter and kept a kennel of dogs who benefitted from having fresh water running through their kennels rather than being brought water each day. One of his dogs was Vulcan, a French hound, who brazenly stole ham from Mt. Vernon’s kitchen, running past laughing guests with his spoils. We also may never have heard of George Washington or had an America at all if it weren’t for his favorite dog, a hound named Sweet Lips. One day while out walking with Sweet Lips, Washington encountered Elizabeth, the wife of the wealthy mayor of Philadelphia. She was so taken with the dog, she invited Washington to their residence for dinner, where he impressed the mayor so much he was introduced to many powerful leaders who later remembered him when selecting a leader for the Continental army.

Abraham Lincoln had a loyal yellow mix dog named Fido who followed him everywhere around Springfield, waiting outside the barbershop and even carrying his packages. Fido did not make the trip to Washington when Lincoln was elected, instead being left in the care of the Roll family. However, Lincoln made sure his best friend was well cared for, leaving Fido’s favorite horsehair sofa behind to sleep on and making the Roll family promise to keep Fido well fed with table scraps. 

Ulysses S. Grant had a love of horses and riding, preferring to ride the largest and most powerful ones. Perhaps that helped in his choice of a huge bear of a dog, a Newfoundland named Faithful, who belonged to his young son Jesse. Jesse was a huge dog lover, and had been so heartbroken by the early death of several of the family’s prior dogs that President Grant had a stern warning when he arrived at the White House: “If this dog dies, every employee at the White House will be immediately discharged.”

Another Newfoundland soon found its home in Washington when President James Garfield arrived at the White House.  Veto proved true to his breed’s protective nature by once barking to sound the alarm when a barn caught fire, alerting the stable hands to quickly put the fire out. Another time, a visitor’s horse got spooked in the stable and began to rear wildly. Veto quickly grabbed the reins in his jaws and held the horse firmly in place until the stable hands could calm the horse. While his bravery and loyalty are worth recognition, Veto’s name is often what draws the first questions. According to stories, good-natured Garfield named Veto as such to remind Congress that he may not pass every bill they sent him.

Theodore Roosevelt is remembered as a strong character who never backed down from a fight. It makes good sense then that his dog would be of similar nature. Pete the bulldog (the breed has never been 100% confirmed, also having been listed as a bull terrier and a Boston bull terrier) was a beloved member of the Roosevelt family, even though he had certain habits the family didn’t approve of. Pete first terrorized squirrels on the property, then graduated to nipping or biting people who displeased him.  When Pete’s targets included some naval officers and cabinet ministers, Roosevelt simply said it must have been their politics that Pete found disagreeable. Pete’s reign of terror finally ended after he chased the French Ambassador Jules Jusserand down a corridor of the White House, fully tearing the bottom out of the man’s pants. After complaints from the French government, Pete was finally “retired” to the Roosevelt family’s Sagamore Hill home.

While most people enjoy reading news of presidential pets today, the honor of the first “celebrity” presidential pup goes to Warren Harding’s Laddie Boy. The Airedale Terrier was the first to receive regular coverage from newspaper reporters, seeming to garner headlines nearly daily thanks to the Hardings’ including the pup in every event possible. Laddie Boy even had his own chair at the Cabinet table for meetings, where we are sure he was the most popular member. President Harding adored his dog so much that shortly after taking office he had 1,000 bronze miniatures of the dog made that he handed out as a proud parent might hand out cigars after the birth of a child. 

Calvin Coolidge had a veritable menagerie of pets, but his favorite was a white collie named Rob Roy. Rob Roy would lead Coolidge to the Oval Office every morning, keeping a stately posture with eyes fixed forward as he walked. The dog’s name was a bit of cheeky whimsy during the time of Prohibition; originally being named Oshkosh, Mrs. Harding changed it to Rob Roy, the name of a popular cocktail at the time. He was the first dog to be featured in an official White House family photo, and was immortalized alongside Mrs. Harding in her official First Lady portrait, a striking piece of art.

When one thinks of presidential dogs, one often thinks of a little Scottish Terrier named Fala. The loyal companion of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Fala was taken many places by FDR and entertained the press and countless others with his tricks. Within the first few weeks of arriving at the White House, Fala began suffering intestinal problems and was taken to the hospital. It was soon discovered that little Fala had discovered the White House kitchen on his own and was being overfed; after that, Fala was only to be fed by FDR himself. The little dog was featured in an MGM movie about the day in the life of the White House, and became an honorary “private” of the U.S. Army. When FDR passed on April 12, 1945, within minutes Fala became quickly and inexplicably agitated, tearing through the very screen of the outside door and running to a hill where he stood, unmoving, gazing into the distance, as if he knew his master was now gone. A statue of Fala accompanies one of President Roosevelt at his memorial, and is still the only presidential pet so honored. 

President George H.W. Bush’s springer spaniel “Millie” was once one of the most well-known presidential dogs. She is the first White House dog to have an author credit, having “written” the popular nonfiction book “Millie’s Book: As Dictated to Barbara Bush.” The book reached number one and spent 23 weeks on the best-sellers list, with profits being donated to a literacy non-profit. In July 1989 the Washingtonian published it’s “Best and Worst” list, and selected Millie as the “ugliest dog in Washington D.C.” The editor quickly sent a letter and dog treats to the White House apologizing for the unpopular and impolite choice. Bush good naturedly responded, “Not to worry! Millie, you see, likes publicity.  Arf, arf for the dog biscuits.” The Bush family carried on the springer spaniel when George W. Bush took office years later, bringing one of Millie’s own pups “Spot” with him.

Currently, dogs are back in the White House, as President Biden has brought his two German Shepherds, Champ and Major with him. Champ came to the family when Biden promised his wife he would get her a puppy after the 2008 election.  His name was selected to remind Biden of advice from his father to “any time you get knocked down, champ, get up!” He often gave children plush toys of Champ during his vice presidency during the Obama administration. Major joined the family in 2018 after being adopted from the Delaware Humane Association’s shelter. The origin of Major’s name is not known, but Biden’s beloved late son Beau was a major in the Delaware National Guard. Three days before Biden’s own inauguration, the shelter held the very first “InDOGuration” over Zoom for Major as a fundraiser which raised $200,000 in donations for the shelter.