FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
1 April 2013
At the eighth meeting of the delegates to the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Framework Convention on Traffic Control (FCTC), delegates adopted Article 5.3, which forbids signatory governments from consultation and engagement with Big Auto and other parts of the automotive industry. Governments are also to act to ensure that independent researchers are also prevented from such engagement, using such mechanisms as political imprisonment, press censorship, and blacklisting.
The FCTC is devoted to ridding the world of the use of passenger cars by 2050 as part of WHO’s Social Programming to Eliminate Non-communicable Disease initiative. Automobiles are the leading cause of death in age groups from 4 to 50 years, and the second leading preventable cause of death in the world today. They are also the leading cause of obesity, exposure to second-hand smoke, and death and injuries among pedestrians and cyclists. In addition to their immediate health effects, automobiles are the leading contributor to global warming.
The automobile industry has a long-standing practice of influencing governments and manipulating consumers, including encouraging youth uptake, advertising in youth-targeted media such as television and magazines, selling vehicles that can achieve speeds far in excess of any legal speed limit, shutting down government-approved alternative transport, and covering up newly-discovered health threats. Indeed, the influence of the industry is so pervasive that one corrupted government recently provided a 13.6 billion euro ($17.4 billion) bailout of its domestic industry, rather than letting it fail as it should have done.
Article 5.3 also requires that all future automotive research on such topics and safety engineering should be entirely controlled by governments and FCTC’s approved list of public health researchers. Industry and those willing to constructively engage with them will be forbidden from conducting such research. Only by excluding the world’s best automotive engineers from the research process, replacing them with second-rate sociologists and medics, can public health’s goals be achieved.
The new rules are urgently needed due to the industry’s initiatives to substitute new “reduced risk” products, an attempt to attract new customers that can only be explained by our successful denormalization of driving. Recent attempts by automobile manufacturers to encourage “harm reduction” represent a blatant effort to make driving appear more acceptable. Industry wants consumers to continue to be addicted to these new products, rather than sticking with government-approved driving cessation methods like buses, trains, and reclusion, which are clinically proven to be successful for almost 5% of the population.
Despite the industry’s marketing claims, no randomized clinical trials have demonstrated that their new products are lower risk. Instead, these efforts recall the industry’s infamous “seat belt” fraud from the 1960s and 1970s, where they claimed that the installation of these features would reduce risk. In fact, subsequent research found that deaths and injuries from automobiles continued to increase worldwide, and are now skyrocketing. In recent testimony in Washington, former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona reported, “No matter what you may hear today or read in press reports later, I cannot conclude that driving a new Subaru Forester, with all-wheel drive and computerized traction control, eight airbags, and a roll-cage-like reinforced chassis, is a safer alternative to a rusted-out 1971 Pinto.”
The new rule will bring all governments into alignment with FCTC policy. FCTC has always had a policy of forbidding involvement by the industry or automotive consumers, having recognized that perfect policy can only be made if interference by all the real stakeholders is avoided. Delegates are encouraged to never so much as converse with to anyone who considers motorized transport to be beneficial to people’s welfare, except in the context of clinical interventions.
FCTC recognizes that the industry will probably mobilize their front-groups to protest these rules, using their usual misleading language about “free choice” and “honest science”. The industry has a long history of creating fake grassroots support to claim that people simply prefer to drive in spite of the risks. But secret industry documents have revealed that every single person who expresses interest in cars is secretly in the pay of the industry.
Delegate, Michael Myers, CEO of the Campaign for Travel-Forbidden Kids, responded to these claims by industry-funded critics: “Individuals are persuaded by paid industry shills like Bruce Springsteen to consider cars to be cool or a way to look grown up. People who start driving as children become slaves to the industry. Almost none of them ever again go without owning a car after they become addicted. Motorized transport is far more addictive than heroin or even smoking. The only way to keep people from driving is to stop the industry from enticing them to start.”
This move by the FCTC follows on important anti-traffic efforts in several member states. The proposed Traffic Products Directive in the European Union would prevent any personal vehicle (PV) from traveling at faster than 30 kph (equivalent to 18.6 mph or 4 mg/ml). The US Department of Transportation requires that any automotive products either be “substantially equivalent” to technology that existed in 1980 and that any innovative products cannot be sold until 20 years of real-world data that proves their safety is accumulated.
The adoption of the new rule follows yesterday’s FCTC resolution to demand that governments devote all taxes collected on automobiles and gasoline, and other traffic-related taxes to anti-traffic efforts. Only 0.000185% of such taxes are given to anti-traffic QUANGOs, which drastically reduces the potential income of FCTC delegates. Indeed, the vast majority of the collections are devoted to maintaining roads and other actions that encourage driving, further evidence that governments are too heavily influenced by Big Auto. A related proposal, to demand the elimination of all depictions of automobiles in movies and television, based on the claim that it causes 483,921.4 children to start driving each year, was rejected as being too wackadoodle for even the FCTC.
The FCTC is an international treaty, with 183 signatory countries (which include 22 who actively wanted to sign, in addition to those who were blackmailed into it with threats of losing WHO funding). They are currently meeting in a 5-star resort hotel, thanks to revenue generated from a collection of extremely regressive taxes.
Press Contact: FCTC Secretariat, fax (yes, we really still do have a fax machine): +41 22 791 5830, or for those living in this century: firstname.lastname@example.org