1st Edition

Backseat Driver The Role of Data in Great Car Safety Debates

By Norma Faris Hubele Copyright 2023
    200 Pages 67 B/W Illustrations
    by Chapman & Hall

    200 Pages 67 B/W Illustrations
    by Chapman & Hall

    200 Pages 67 B/W Illustrations
    by Chapman & Hall

    Buying the safest car for your family shouldn’t be up for debate.

    Yet for decades, car safety advocates, manufacturers, and lawmakers in the United States have clashed over whether to make automobiles safer. All sides armed themselves with data in the hopes of winning the great car safety debates. In this way, crash statistics and the analysts who studied them made history. But data were always in the backseat, merely supporting different points of view. That is, until now.

    With car safety, it’s the value we place on every human life that counts.

    Automobile safety expert Dr. Norma Faris Hubele delivers a lively discussion of the role data play in protecting you and your family on the road. You’ll gain a greater appreciation for how:

    • A World War I pilot’s near-death experience birthed the U.S. car safety movement
    • Data from real car crashes helped create the first vehicle safety standards
    • A shift toward fuel-efficient cars affected fatality risk in the 1970s–1980s versus now
    • Vehicle size has changed, and the problems that creates for you and others sharing the road
    • Car safety rating systems, even when limited, empower consumers and motivate manufacturers
    • Federal regulators decide whether to issue a safety recall on your vehicle
    • Data’s role is evolving with the advent of driver-assist and self-driving technologies

    Further information can be found on the book's website: www.TheAutoProfessor.com/book [US only].

    Glossary of Selected Terms

    Chapter 1. Introduction

    Chapter 2. A Strange Start for a Movement

    Chapter 3. Crash Data Make a Difference

    Chapter 4. Measuring Progress with Data

    Chapter 5. The Roof Crush Resistance Debate

    Chapter 6. The Incompatibility Debate

    Chapter 7. The Fuel Efficiency Debate

    Chapter 8. The Safety Ratings Debate

    Chapter 9. Two Recall Debates

    Chapter 10. The Automated Driver-Assistance Systems Debate

    Chapter 11. The Self-Driving Car Debate





    Norma Faris Hubele, PhD has served over 30 years as a professor, consumer advocate, and automotive safety expert. She was the first director of strategic initiatives at the Fulton School of Engineering at Arizona State University, where she is now a Professor Emerita. An expert witness in over 120 car safety cases, Dr. Hubele has educated the courts about when statistics can or cannot inform decisions. She is a co-author of a widely used textbook, Engineering Statistics. Dr. Hubele is founder and CEO of TheAutoProfessor.com, a free website for new car safety ratings and information.

    "Overall, the book presents an insightful recount of how the use of data in car safety has changed over time, and gives a glimpse of what the future might look like. The author has used graphics effectively throughout the book. It is an interesting read for those particularly interested in automotive safety and/or the use of data or statistics in car safety, and in social processes in general."
    - Shuangzhe Liu in Technometrics, February 2024