Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

Statement on the Death of Clarence Ditlow

  • November 11, 2016
150 150 Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 11, 2016                                   

Contact:   Cathy Chase, 571-243-7282, cchase@saferoads.org

Statement of Jackie Gillan, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), on the Death of Clarence Ditlow, Executive Director of the Center for Auto Safety and Advocates’ Board Member

Today, the Board of Directors and staff of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) mourn the loss of Clarence Ditlow, Executive Director of the Center for Auto Safety and a valued Board Member.  Clarence has served on Advocates’ Board of Directors since our founding in 1989.  During his 27 year tenure, he was an energetic, committed and tenacious leader representing the consumer and safety communities.  Every motorist on the road today has Clarence to thank for their vehicle being equipped with lifesaving safety systems.  And, when a safety system or auto part was defective, it was Clarence who identified the problem, informed the public, prodded regulators to act and held the auto industry accountable. He was an unyielding and resolute activist whenever public safety was marginalized or monetized by the industry.

Clarence was the “Sherlock Holmes” for auto safety when it came to investigating and identifying faulty vehicle systems including defective airbags, tires, ignition switches, engine mounts, door and child seat latches, and deadly gas tanks.  He was a trusted ally and his veracity made him an indispensable resource to the safety and consumer communities, elected officials, government agencies, the media and the public.

On a personal level, I met Clarence when working at the U.S. Department of Transportation during the Carter Administration on auto safety.  He was a lifelong friend to consumers, to safety advocates, to victims and to me.  Clarence committed four decades of his life to auto safety and advancing consumer protections.  I know I speak for Advocates’ Board and our staff in expressing our heartfelt sorrow for Clarence’s death to his wife, Marilyn, his family, the staff at the Center for Auto Safety and every person who has had the honor of knowing and working with Clarence.

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