Chinese Tire Recall Reveals Problems With Imports, EWR

PHILADEPHIA, PA. - A recall of 450,000 tires imported from China has exposed a loophole in the regulations that do not provide consumers with a remedy if an importer cannot afford to conduct a recall. The importer's discovery of the defect - through a spike in warranty claims - also demonstrates the importance of the public accessibility to Early Warning Reporting data.

In June, Foreign Tire Sales, of Union, N.J., appealed to NHTSA for aid in recalling an estimated 450,000 light truck tires sold under the names Westlake, Telluride, Compass and YKS, asserting that the manufacturer, the Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Company, had left a critical component out of the tire. Hangzhou officials have denied that the tires are defective. Initially, FTS said that it would go bankrupt if it were required to recall, replace and dispose of the defective tires. But NHTSA was unmoved by FTS's hardship claims and ordered it to file a remedy plan.

NHTSA Document and Data Secrecy and Accessibility

Withholding critical data, the erosion of public accessibility to public information, the neglect of government documents-these have been the hallmarks of the Bush administration. Secrecy-in all of its forms-has been a prominent feature of the continuing stream of scandals out of Washington, D.C.  Most have centered on national security, but lately, administration appointees have thrown a cloak of secrecy over motor vehicle safety information. The effect will likely be felt for many years to come.

In the following three stories, which were published in SRS' The Safety Record (V2, Issue 4 March / April 2007), Safety Research & Strategies examines data secrecy, the new limits on public accessibility to important NHTSA documents, and the neglect of historical data sources.  Alone, these issues are significant. Combined, they have potentially devastating effect on the future of safety regulation and defect trend detection and remediation.

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