Paper 3 – Interview with George Nephew
Mirlan: Hello Sir, and thank you for your time. As you already know, I would like to hear your story of Reagan and Nixon eras, Vietnam War and some important aspects of US foreign policy.
George: You are welcome. For instance, I worked in the Civil Rights office for Federal Highway administration for the 16 years when they formed a new administration; which took care of federal motor safety. I remember when there were no seat belts of any kind. When the agency just formed, we focused on main basic laws. It was very hard for people to get used to new seat belts standard, but it was important due to speed increase. People were afraid of getting trapped in the car. However, it was easy to defend for reason of seat belt enforcement. So, people were used to not having seat belt, and they felt that they were encumbering if anything happened so they would be trapped in the car. And so it really started by the states themselves slowly coming along with laws requiring drivers to have seat belts, until finally it became a federal law that required on federal level to be standard on cars.
Mirlan: in 1970 we see oil crisis challenging Americans. How people reacted to that?
George: I think that there is a lot of unrest in the country; you need to remember that we were finishing up with Vietnam, and other unrest was coming out of 60s. So when the oil prices hit, this was a country which still even today like not where we stand, gas was really cheap. I remember going down and filling up 32 cents a gallon. So when the crisis hit, there would be long line at the gas stations, people really trying to find out what to do. In this country people are really wed to their automobiles, even if they try with mass transit. Mass transit was not really catching on because of way the country was spread out, and distance of suburbia. So government started to push people strongly to carpool, but people did not really like this idea because carpooling...