Software Promises and Perils

In May, Honda recalled some 2014-2015 Acura MDX 2WD and AWD, RLX and 2014 Acura RLX Hybrid vehicles, because its Collision Mitigation Braking System could incorrectly interpret certain roadside objects such as metal fences or metal guardrails as obstacles and unexpectedly apply the brakes. In October, Google and Volvo were demonstrating their driverless cars for journalists on two continents – the U.S.

Decoding NTSB’s Tire Safety Report

Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board issued findings and recommendations following a 10-month long investigation into tire safety. The effort was launched after two February 2014 two deadly tire-related crashes in Louisiana and Florida.

NTSB to Release Long-Awaited Tire Safety Recommendations

In February 2014, there were two tragic, fatal, and high-profile tire crashes on U.S. highways that might very well constitute a tipping point for tire safety.

One involved an 11-year-old Michelin Cross Terrain tread separation on a 2004 Kia Sorrento that led to a crash into a school bus carrying 34 members of a Louisiana high school baseball team in Centerville, La. Four of the Kia occupants died, and the fifth was severely injured. Thirty of the bus passengers suffered injuries.

Takata Recall Tests the New and Improved NHTSA

Tomorrow October 22, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is scheduled to hold a public hearing ostensibly to explore coordinating a national recall of defective Takata airbag inflators. 

Protective Orders and NHTSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s whirlwind makeover continues. Monday, the agency published two Federal Register Notices – one inviting comments on a forthcoming guidance document about the sharing of safety defect information discovered in civil litigation and a second notice proposing rulemaking to codify procedures for the assessment of civil penalties.

NHTSA Consent Orders and Civil Justice

NHTSA started the week with a bang – wresting from a formerly defiant Fiat Chrysler its signature on a detailed Consent Order, admitting that it violated the Safety Act in myriad ways, agreeing to pay a $105 million fine, buy back some unremedied recalled vehicles and allow a Special Monitor to look over its shoulder.    

Le Divorce?

For decades, the tire makers and the tire sellers have been a couple with an uneasy relationship – mainly because more than the Rubber Manufacturers Association, which represents the former,  loves the people who buy and sell their products, it hates change. And the RMA has ably defended its member companies against all kinds of proposals making it easier for consumers to read the Tire Identification Number for recalls or to automate the process of identifying tires as they move through the distribution chain, all in the name of never altering one thing about the way they do business.

Former NHTSA Administrator Strickland Gets Part 9 Spanking

When David Strickland went directly from representing industry’s interests as the Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to representing industry’s interests as a member of the Washington D.C. lobbying firm Venable, LLC, he was part of a proud agency tradition of lending the dignity of their public offices to private commercial interests.

NHTSA Fines Bus Maker Forest River

Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration levied the maximum penalty against Indiana-based heavy vehicle manufacturer Forest River – $35 million for failing to launch timely recalls and for failing to fulfill a host of reporting obligations to NHTSA.  (Spartan Motors, another manufacturer of heavy vehicles, also got dinged for $9 million yesterday for failing to file Technical Service Bulletins with the agency, and in six cases, failed to launch recalls on safety defects ranging from Tag Axle Wheel Bearing failures to engine cooling fans to sway bar end links.)

Inspector Agrees with SRS: NHTSA Ain’t Right

Inspector Agrees with SRS: NHTSA Ain’t Right

Today, we salute the good men and women of the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) for putting their official imprimatur on concerns that The Safety Record has been raising for years. The report, released to selected press on Friday, and to the rest of us slobs on Monday, was entitled: “Inadequate Data and Analysis Undermine NHTSA’s Efforts to Identify and Investigate Vehicle Safety Concerns.”

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