TO THE EDITOR:
As a long-term subscriber, I felt the need to respond to “Tragedy at Mass. auction provides a teachable moment” (May 15).
As a 30-year general manager at five Manheim facilities and one independent, and as a past president of the National Auto Auction Association, I have never had this kind of tragedy happen at an auction I managed. But if I had been asked to comment, I would never have done so until ALL the facts were in and a formal investigation completed. It is inappropriate to chastise the NAAA and any of its members that serve the national dealer base with a high regard for safety and integrity.
This editorial does not address the real issue — that every driver has been trained to use MULTIPLE options to create a safe driving experience in the lane. The “simple” step that you propose doesn’t take into account that you have no idea if the car in front has a person in front of it and a variety of other factors that the driver has to process in a split second of surprise.
Training goes on at every auction, and yes, the Lynnway event was a tragedy beyond my wildest dreams. That, however, does NOT negate the NAAA’s efforts on safety, its decision to not comment immediately or the fact that untold millions of units at hundreds of NAAA auctions nationwide over the past 30 years have had superior safety records. In my case, zero injuries or deaths.
JIM DesROCHERS, vice president, Dealers Auto Auction of the Southwest Phoenix