Collision Course: The Truth about Airline Safety

Ralph Nader, Author, Wesley J. Smith, With
Ralph Nader, Author, Wesley J. Smith, With Tab Books $21.95 (378p) ISBN 978-0-8306-4271-7
Reviewed on: 08/02/1993
Release date: 08/01/1993
Paperback - 978-0-07-045987-8
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In this important, eye-opening survey of the airline industry, Nader teams up again with his coauthor on Winning the Insurance Game . As a result of the deregulation policies of the Carter administration and the laissez-faire approach of Reagan, the industry is collapsing financially, according to the authors, with only United, American and Delta remaining strong, along with the feeder/commuter lines. But stressing that this is not a book about economics--an integral aspect they by no means neglect--Nader and Smith focus on how deregulation has affected safety. Their findings are sobering: planes of the major airlines are aging and sometimes corners are cut on inspections or repairs. Additionally, airports are increasingly overcrowded, which has an impact on both security and on airplane landings. Then there's the FAA, whose performance is ``inadequate.'' Nader and Smith point out that the FAA is required by an executive order (enacted under Reagan) to conduct a cost/benefit analysis before promulgating safety regulations: i.e., the agency must weigh the expenses of new measures against possible loss of life. Concluding that the level of passenger risk is growing, the authors offer recommendations not only for the industry but also for individuals on making air travel safer. And they warn: ``The viability of the entire $25 billion-plus commercial aviation industry depends on there being an almost zero accident rate.'' Photos not seen by PW . 75,000 first printing; major ad/promo. (Sept.)
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