Brass Ones

Government Motors - I mean - General Motors is doubling down on 363. That's the magical section of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy code that allows filers to keep the good stuff and discard all the ick - one of the key pieces being liability for harm caused by defective products.

Midnight Regulation Provokes Controversy

Reprinted from The Safety Record, V5, I6; Nov/Dec. 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Designated Seating Position Final Rule has produced confusion around its measuring procedures and provoked controversy for its preemption clause and lack of statistical foundation as the Bush Administration tries to stampede another regulation to completion.

NHTSA Publishes Final DSP Rule; SRS Vows Challenge

Reprinted from The Safety Record, V5, I5

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Three years after proposing to close the flagrant loopholes in the Designated Seating Position rule, NHTSA has published a Final Rule that tweaks its initial proposal, but fails to address its core weakness - the lack of underlying data to support the change.

The Final Rule, published on October 8, attempts to prevent manufacturers from offering extra rear seating while skirting the requirement for a seat belt in each designated seating position. For years, manufacturers of vehicles with generous rear bench seats equipped with only two three-point belts hung their hats on four words in the current rule's definition of a designated seating position: "likely to be used." This allowed automakers to pretend that only two positions in the rear seat were likely to be used, even as consumers were clearly occupying three positions.

Senate Holds Hearing on Roof Strength; NHTSA Grilled on Pre-emption

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The chairman of the Senate Consumer Affairs, Insurance and Automotive sub-committee has urged the Secretary of Transportation to extend the July 1 deadline for a final roof crush rule and to drop the pre-emption clause from the regulation.

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