Autos: The Safety Struggle

The U.S. Congress is in a mood to pass an auto-safety law far stricter than anyone thought possible just a few months ago. This mood hardened last week, even while the industry was pleading its case before the Senate Commerce Committee.

What the industry fears most is that Congress, in the name of safety, will pass legislation enabling bureaucrats to tell Detroit stylists how to design their cars. Speaking for management at the hearings, Ford Vice President John Bugas proposed an alternative: let the carmakers police their own safety through a board made...