A Tipping Point

[Editor’s Note: The following article is a response to best-selling author Malcom Gladwell’s recent podcast “Blame Game” on the Toyota unintended acceleration crisis. Gladwell’s depiction of the controversial defect issues plaguing Toyotas is wildly inaccurate and refuted in many public record documents.

Keyed up With Anticipation: Smart Key Hazards Still Unresolved

Five and a half years ago, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration vowed that it was going to get on top of the keyless ignition safety issue, publishing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The NPRM acknowledged that keyless ignitions, for all of their purported convenience, had introduced several safety hazards not associated with mechanical key systems – among them, rollaways, when drivers shut off the engine and exit without locking the shift lever in the “Park” position and carbon monoxide poisonings from drivers who inadvertently leave the engine running.

RMA Launches Feel-Good Tire Recall Database

Late last week, the Rubber Manufacturers Association launched online tire recall search tool, and The Safety Record asks: Why?

First, the RMA tire look-up website only contains tire recall information for its eight member companies, so recall information regarding all of the non-RMA made tires and tires that are imported and branded by U.S. distributors for sale here will not be in this database.

Honda Finds Convenient Scapegoat in Takata

As the Takata airbag inflator recalls top 40 million vehicles with global estimates of the eventual final tally upwards of 60 million, the OEMs have been happy to cast Takata as a rogue supplier, willing to deceive its customers – particularly Honda – by falsifying test data, and its design and parts validation processes. And lucky them – documents and testimony corroborate this meme.

E(xploding) Cigarettes

A Kalamazoo man is the latest vaper who turned to electronic cigarettes as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes and wound up with serious burns. According to an April 1 news account:  “Took a couple of puffs off of it, had it between my fingers, looked down and my hand was on fire," said the man. "The whole thing just completely exploded. You don't know when they're going to explode, maybe some of them don't, I don't know, but they told me luckily I did not have it in my mouth because it would have put my eye out."

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