The Times West Virginian


April 4, 2014

Putting a cost on safety issue has been culprit in 13 traffic deaths

Would you believe that an item costing just 57 cents — less than the price of a can of pop — is being cited as the culprit in 13 traffic deaths?

A simple 57-cent item.

That’s how much fixing the fatal ignition switches that General Motors installed in new automobiles would have cost, and 13 lives would probably have been saved.

No wonder members of Congress have been demanding that the new CEO at General Motors provide some answers on why it took the giant automaker 10 years to recall automobiles with such a defect.

We think the entire country deserves an answer to such questions.

Mary Barra is the new CEO at General Motors, but her career as the top woman in the General Motors organization may be over before it gets a good start the way she was treated by members of Congress on Tuesday. She was highly criticized for speaking in a “gobbledygook” language, and really pounded for not firing an engineer who apparently concealed a change in the potentially deadly switches.

And she was lambasted because her company made an economic decision to keep the flawed component in production while it didn’t meet GM standards.

Congress was certainly within its right to question Barra in this manner. Even though she was not the CEO then, her company concealed facts that apparently led to the deaths of 13 people who drive General Motors automobiles.

Barra did acknowledge that it took too long for the company to act, and she promised changes at GM that would prevent such a lapse from ever happening again. She admitted to the large body that included many relatives of the crash victims that she could not not explain why it took years for her company to say a mistake had been made.

How could she explain or justify such a travesty? This was a case of someone moving into the top position in a company and trying to apologize for things it had done, or not done, while realizing a major error had been made.

No amount of money can make up for 13 lives. Not $100,000 nor 57 cents.

And Barra said on what had to be the toughest day of her entire life — testifying before Congress when she knew she was on the negative side — “It’s not acceptable to put a cost on a safety issue.”

More than 2.3 million General Motors vehicles have since been recalled.

If this knowledge had been made public in the first place, all these recalls would have not been necessary now.

And more importantly, perhaps neither would 13 funerals.

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  • Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely

    The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
    It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
    It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.

    July 23, 2014

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

  • Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life

    Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
    And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.

    July 20, 2014

  • COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?

    Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
    I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.

    July 20, 2014

  • Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions

    This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
    The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    July 18, 2014

  • Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year

    It’s happening again.
    It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
    But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.

    July 17, 2014

  • County honors men who gave all in helping their community

    The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
    Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
    The bridge on U.S. 19 over Paw Paw Creek was named to honor Lockard, while the bridge on U.S. 19 over Pharaoh Run Creek was named to honor Angelino. Lockard, a former Rivesville police chief, died in 1958 at the age of 48 while directing traffic. Angelino, a Rivesville firefighter, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in 1966.

    July 16, 2014

  • State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less

    The West Virginia state government began its budget year last Tuesday with a small surplus of $40 million — less than 1 percent of its annual tax revenues — thanks only to dipping into its savings.
    Let’s not do that again.

    July 15, 2014

  • Long-range vision with transportation has been made to be thing of proud past

    Last week’s closure of Fairmont’s Fourth Street Bridge is a symbol of a problem that must be fixed.
    The United States should be proud of the vision its leaders once displayed to address the country’s transportation needs.
    Back in 1954, for example, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced his goal of an interstate highway system — something that transformed the country.

    July 13, 2014

  • COLUMN: Who would leave animal in sweltering car?

    I was standing and debating between two brands of a product in a big box store when I heard a call over the intercom:
    “Will the owner of a green Cavalier with a dog inside please report to the lawn and garden center.”
    I shook my head. I hate seeing dogs in cars waiting while their owners shop. About five minutes later, there was another announcement over the intercom.

    July 13, 2014

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