Complaints to NHTSA Matter

Reprinted from The Safety Record, V5, I4, July / August 2008

On August 12, 2006, Rafael B. Melo, Claudeir Jose Figueiredo and Carlos Souza were ejected from a 2000 Chevrolet Express 2500 Cargo Van, when its 2004 Compass Telluride steel belted radial tire failed, causing the van to rollover. Melo and Figueiredo died in the crash. Souza suffered a permanent brain injury. In May 2007, the families of the victims filed a civil lawsuit against the Chinese manufacturer, Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Company, and the American importer, Foreign Tire Sales of Union, New Jersey. A year would elapse between the crash and a recall of the defective tires. But it only took two months from the time that FTS -- spurred by litigation -- reported the deaths to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to the launch of a campaign to remove the defective tires from the road.

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Alternative Vehicles Gain Popularity, But Skirt Regulations

Reprinted from The Safety Record, V5, I4, July / August 2008

STUEBENVILLE, OHIO -Don't bother trying to buy a three-wheeled, two-passenger vehicle off the dealer's lot. Motorists who want to get their hands on Wildfire Motors' WF650-C will have to plunk down the full $7,064 purchase price in advance, and wait three months for delivery. As gas prices rise, consumers are turning to high-mileage alternative vehicles, such as three-wheeled motorcycles or mini trucks or small electric passenger vehicles in increasing numbers. They are marketed as "cars" or "trucks" with most of the capabilities of a passenger vehicle, but they are built to safety standards far below those required of traditional passenger cars and light trucks.

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