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What did he say? November 4, 2005

Posted by Brian in Uncategorized.
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OK…before I go on, I must say that I drive an SUV…but it’s a Saturn VUE — the wimpiest of all SUVs — that I bought in July 2002. I didn’t need or want something like the Canyonero from The Simpsons, but I did want to have a vehicle with more passenger and cargo room after having small cars (two Mustangs, Probe, Saturn coupe) my entire life as a driver.

Anyway, the reason I say all that is because I just read this story on CNN.com, which talks about blind spots behind SUVs resulting in children being run over by people — usually relatives — backing out of driveways and parking spaces. Now, I always worry about that, which is why I take about 2 1/2 days to back out of a parking space or driveway. But, apparently, that is indeed a pretty big problem.

Let me also say that I was a journalism major and took plenty of public relations classes. I have worked in public relations and still sort of do even as a writer.

I am also aware of the difference between a spokesperson and a lobbyist.

Well, apparently, the SUV Owners of America, an organization partially funded by the car companies, does not. Read the following excerpt from the CNN.com story and get a load of the quote from the organization’s communications director (i.e., P.R. mouthpiece), Ron DeFore.

Optional equipment available on many trucks and SUVs can help solve this problem. Some cars and trucks are already available with sensors that sound an audible warning when something is close behind and the vehicle is in reverse. Some even have video cameras that show what’s behind the vehicle where the mirrors can’t see.

For vehicles that don’t have this type of equipment, several companies make products that you can easily install yourself.

While back-up video camera systems can cost thousands of dollars, radar-based sensors cost much less, generally a couple of hundred dollars. Some of these systems take just a few minutes to install.

(Consumer Reports auto test director David) Champion thinks systems like these should be required on all larger vehicles. But DeFore, communications director for SUV Owners of America, disagrees, citing the cost.

“If we take the attitude that any new technology, down the road, should just be mandated because it saved a few lives,” he said, “that is very dangerous public policy because you just start pricing vehicles well beyond what a lot of people can afford.”

OK…stand back a few seconds and take a few breaths. Let’s recap…

This Ron DeFore character basically said it is more important for the car makers to save people a couple of hundred dollars on their SUV purchase than it is to save children’s lives.

Now, this is the sort of thing a lobbyist would say in private to a politician, who is likely also soulless and wouldn’t even realize the idiocy and evilness of such a comment (especially when you consider the contribution or kickback the politician is being offered to support that hideous point of view).

But I can’t imagine how making such a clueless, heartless and oblivious statement to the media could ever be considered good public relations.

One thing I want to know…even though I own the wimpiest of all SUVs, I am technically an SUV owner…in America. I have never heard of this SUV Owners of America…and I definitely don’t want to be associated with dickheads like Ron DeFore. Can they at least change the name to what it really is…the SUV Makers of America?

And since I’m in a Ben Folds state of mind with Monday’s show at Radio City Music Hall drawing near, I thought this lyric from Ben’s “All U Can Eat” fit nicely into this post:

Son, look at all the people in this restaurant
What do you think they weigh?
And out the window to the parking lot
At their SUVs taking all of the space

They give no fuck
They talk as loud as they want
They give no fuck
Just as long as there’s enough for them

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