The Wrong Fix for the Broken Recall System

Last month, Senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal proposed new legislation that would link car registrations to completing recall repairs. The Repairing Every Car to Avoid Lost Lives (RECALL) Act threatens state DMVs with the loss of five percent of its federal highway funds if they don’t add to their duties checking open recalls for every new and renewed auto registration, and adds to the responsibilities of consumers getting recall repairs done to be properly registered.

Honda May Set the Record for the Longest Running Rolling Recall

Seven years after Honda issued the first Takata airbag recall, it continues to add more vehicles to the tally. Its never-ending rolling recall – a scheme automakers use to quietly keep adding more makes and models as deaths and injuries keep occurring – has gone from 3,940 model year 2001 Accords and Civics to up to at least 8 million vehicles, spanning a giant chunk of its fleet. And that number is soft because it is impossible to break down Honda’s web of overlapping recalls, varying explanations, and numerous recall extensions to determine an actual number.

FHWA Grades Guardrail on a Curve

Last Friday the 13th was a very unlucky day for taxpayers – that was the day the Federal Highway Administration announced that we, the people, would continue to reimburse states that choose to install an energy-absorbing guardrail end terminal that has been maiming and killing us. That announcement was bundled in a package of technical papers designed to explain away the last of eight tests on the safety of the ET-Plus energy-absorbing guardrail.

FHWA Breaks Out Rulers, Still No Idea Why Guardrails Fail

One of the most important lessons for federal agencies caught asleep at the wheel in a safety crisis is: do everything you can to validate your earlier, poor decisions that led to the crisis. Spare no expense at proving yourself right, while appearing to take a stern stance against industry. By no means should you ever focus on the field failures.

Seat Heater Safety Takes a Back Seat

Four years ago, Safety Research & Strategies, along with nationally recognized burn care specialists, raised an issue long neglected by automakers and the regulators: seat heater safety. This comfort feature -- often designed to reach maximum temperatures that range far above human tolerances – can and does pose dangers to occupants, but it is rarely investigated or recalled.

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