NHTSA Progress Slow as Safety Crises Keep Coming

On Friday, the Office of the Inspector General threw another report on the stack of official criticisms of the way the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Defects Investigation operates.

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Automatic Gates' Deadly Legacy

Last month, the automated gate industry implemented a new voluntary standard ostensibly designed to decrease the chances that individuals will become entrapped, injured or killed by a motorized gate. Will it matter? Automatic gates have been crushing people with regularity since communities and businesses began installing them in the early 1970s, despite occasional education campaigns, amended standards and high recognition among industry and regulators about the safety hazards.

“There have been multiple cases where the gates don’t reverse even though they have a reversing mechanism,” says attorney Bryan Crews, who represents the family of a 12-year-old Florida girl who suffered permanent brain injuries after a 2013 incident. “It’s a hidden trap waiting to spring on unsuspecting children and adults. With more and more gated communities and office buildings you are going to see increasing reports of injuries and deaths.”

Chrysler’s Shifty Shifter and the Wacky World of Defects

Without even waiting for Fiat Chrysler to reply to its Information Request, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has bumped a Preliminary Evaluation into the electronic shifters in 856,284 late model Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 vehicles up to an Engineering Analysis investigation.

Preventable Ford Airbag Death Touches off Latest Recalls

Another day, another episode of the long-running soap opera, All My Airbags. Last week, on the heels of the tenth death and the eve of an historic blizzard, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that another five million vehicles with defective Takata airbag inflators will be recalled. This recall will include driver’s side SDI-type airbag inflators in Ford vehicles.

NHTSA Proposes to Affirm Canadian Underride Standard

Q: When’s the best time to pass a rule? A: When nearly everyone already complies! While it puts you at the trailing edge of safety, it diminishes the intensity of the opposition – so it’s all good. Such is the state of a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposal to upgrade the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards 223 and 224, for rear impact guard and rear impact protection, respectively.

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