UL Self-Certification Program Raises Safety Questions

A fire resulting in the death of a 9-year-old boy allegedly caused by a window air-conditioner led plaintiff's lawyers to uncover a little-known Underwriters Laboratory (UL) program that allows companies to certify they meet UL standards without UL testing.

The Goldstar brand air conditioner at issue in the case was certified by LG under UL's self-certification program known as "Total Certification Program" or TCP. LG claimed the air conditioner complied with UL 484, the standard for room air conditions. But plaintiff's testing found plastic components were excessively flammable and did not meet the standard and that UL did no testing to confirm compliance.

European Pedestrian Crash Standards Will Make Global Changes in Car Design Inevitable

Imagine a Jag without the company's signature image leaping off the front hood or an SUV outfitted with exterior airbags. In Europe, that metal cat is already extinct and those airbags are on their way in, under new European Union pedestrian impact regulations that will take effect in October. Although American automakers are not embracing these changes, manufacturers and suppliers say that the global drive to increase pedestrian safety coupled with the global nature of the auto industry will eventually affect cars sold in the U.S., possibly forcing changes to auto design, price, styles and fuel efficiency.

"Aged" Tire Case Numbers Grow: Spares and Used tires Top the List

Following Firestone, SRS began tracking cases involving "aged" tires-tires older than 6-years-that have failed catastrophically causing crashes. With more than 65 documented cases, several patterns are emerging. Nearly one-third of these cases involved spare tires, approximately one-third were tires purchased used. The remaining cases involve tires that were mounted on little-used sports cars, old stock sold as new, or their histories are unknown. What links all of these cases together is the fact that the tires have ample tread and appear safe when they are put into service.

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