rollover: the hidden history of the suv
unsafe on any tire?
before you buy...
nixon & detroit

keith bradsher
Former Detroit bureau chief for The New York Times, Bradsher won the George Polk Award in 1997 for his reporting on SUVs and light trucks. His book High and Mighty: SUVs -- The World's Most Dangerous Vehicles and How They Got that Way was published in September 2002. In this interview he offers an overview of the SUV rollover problem, and tells FRONTLINE that it is likely to become more serious as the popularity of SUVs continues to grow. This interview was conducted in July 2001.

Joan Claybrook
She is the president of Public Citizen, a consumer-advocacy organization founded by Ralph Nader in 1971. From 1977 to 1981, under President Jimmy Carter, she headed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Here, she offers her perspective on the history of NHTSA and its record in auto-safety regulation, including her views on how NHTSA has handled the SUV rollover issue and the role that plaintiff lawyers and safety advocates have come to play. This interview was conducted in April 2001.

Jerry Curry
A retired major general in the U.S. Army and a decorated Vietnam veteran, Curry was appointed by President George H. W. Bush to head the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), serving from 1989 to 1992. In this interview he offers his perspective on the role of auto-safety regulators and answers questions about some key moments in the history of SUVs, including the Bronco II investigation and the effort to defeat increased CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards in 1991. This interview was conducted in October 2001.

Martin Goldfarb
Chairman of the Toronto-based market research firm Goldfarb Consultants, which he founded in 1965, Goldfarb is an anthropologist by training and has specialized in the study of human behavior as it relates to the marketplace. A longtime marketing consultant to Ford, he started working on SUV campaigns in the early 1980s and was among the first to see their potential. Here, he shares his thoughts on the marketing history of SUVs and the relationship between safety concerns and market demands. This interview was conducted in June 2001.

Brian O'Neill
O'Neill is president of the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. The institute researches and proposes countermeasures to all three factors that contribute to motor vehicle accidents -- human, vehicular, and environmental -- as well as interventions that may reduce losses. He calls auto safety a "full contact sport" because of the typical disputes that arise around defect recalls or auto regulations, and he tells FRONTLINE that he hopes the lasting message of the Ford-Firestone crisis will be that "SUVs have a stability problem." This interview was conducted in June 2001.

Tab Turner
Turner is a product liability attorney who specializes in SUV rollover cases. At the time he spoke to FRONTLINE, he estimated that he was involved in 170 lawsuits against both Ford and Firestone. Turner believes that the design of the Ford Explorer is inherently defective, and that Ford and Firestone have consciously disregarded the safety of consumers. This transcript is drawn from two separate interviews, conducted in April and May 2001.

home · introduction · unsafe on any tire? · before you buy... · interviews · nixon & detroit
discussion · links & readings · video excerpt
producer's chat · tapes & transcripts · press reaction · credits · privacy policy

FRONTLINE · wgbh · pbs online

photo copyright © richard hamilton smith/corbis
web site copyright 1995-2014 WGBH educational foundation