Tire Industry gets Anti-Aging Reality Check

It’s not often we encourage our readers to read a trade journal article, but a recent  commentary in Tire Review by Editor Jim Smith is a go-to.  The article is shockingly honest and puts the brakes on the industry’s claim of victory following NHTSA’s announcement that it wouldn’t pursue a tire aging standard. 

NHTSA Finally Tackles Rear Underride

One Ms. Marianne Karth of the Truck Safety Coalition and 11,000 signatories have succeeded where the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety – with all its fancy-pants testing – and the Canadians – with their much tougher standard – had failed, persuading the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to initiate a rulemaking to upgrade the rear underride standard.

Toyota’s Gone Fishin’

In December 2009, as Toyota faced increasing scrutiny from Congress and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the wake of the horrific unintended acceleration crash in that killed California Highway Patrolman Mark Saylor, his wife, daughter and brother-in-law, the automaker’s image-makers were prepared to go on the offensive. According to an April 2013 article in Corporate Counsel, a Toyota public relations staffer named Masami Doi wrote this email:
 

NHTSA to Initiate Consumer Awareness Campaign on Tire Age - No Standard Needed

NHTSA to Initiate Consumer Awareness Campaign on Tire Age - No Standard Needed.    

No surprise that NHTSA isn’t going to regulate tire age – but now that agency plans to initiate a consumer awareness campaign about tire aging after years of research data showing that aging can present a safety problem particularly in the high heat states.

NHTSA Finally Gets Curious about Exploding Airbags

NHTSA-watchers know that it sometimes takes a lot to pique the curiosity of the Office of Defects Investigations.

Take Takata airbags that explode, shooting shrapnel at hapless drivers. This defect, first surfaced in 2008, when Honda announced a major recall. It has returned to the news pages in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013 as Honda and four other automakers announced a cascade of recalls, each with its own specific defect root cause – one just a little different from the other. These explosions have caused two deaths and at least 22 injuries to date.

While You Were Out ...

We’re all familiar with the Friday afternoon news dump – release something controversial at close of business on the last day of the week. Don’t leave reporters much time for digging or tracking down interview subjects, and hope everyone is too busy livin’ for the weekend to pay attention.

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