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Hyundai-Kia’s Billion Dollar Engine Problem that Broke the NHTSA Civil Penalty Barrier

A federal judge in California has put one class-action lawsuit in peril and approved a settlement in another alleging defects in Hyundai and Kia engines. The Korean automaker’s billion-dollar-plus legal liability is on top of the largest civil penalty the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has ever levied against an automaker. The language of the […]

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Congress Turns to the GAO, after NHTSA Blows Deadlines

Last Wednesday, a trio from the House Energy and Commerce Committee, including its powerful chair Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to find out why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has dragged its feet in completing nearly 20 Congressionally mandated rulemakings and reports in the last seven years.  The 2012 […]

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vehicle fire

Everything Old is New Again: Polaris is Back to Issuing Fire Hazard Recalls

Three months after Consumer Federation of America and the Safety Record Blog called out Polaris for sidestepping the recall process and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for allowing the troubled manufacturer to do so, Polaris recalls have come back into fashion. In April, the Medina, Minnesota-based manufacturer and the CPSC jointly announced that 80,000 […]

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cobalt car crash

Cobalt Cover-Up

Brooke Melton died on her 29th birthday. It was the evening of March 10, 2010, and Melton, a pediatric nurse, had just finished work and was headed to meet up with her boyfriend for a celebration dinner, when the ignition module of her 2005 Cobalt slipped into the accessory position as she drove along Highway […]

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Polaris Issues Stop Sale/Stop Rides, Where’s the CPSC?

Between June and December, Polaris issued five Stop Sale/Stop Ride notices for some 92,000 off-road vehicles. These vehicles are the newest model years of vehicles that have been continually recalled since 2013. Not one announcement could be found on the CPSC website – in fact, the CPSC itself was nowhere to be found in this […]

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Polaris: Information Black-Out as Vehicles Burn

In May 2018, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission closed out its oversight of a 2016 Polaris safety campaign. Recall 16-146 was the single largest of 13 Polaris fire-related recalls, covering some 133,000 Model Year 2013-2016 RZR 900 and RZR 1000 recreational off-highway vehicles. These models also remain among the Medina, Minnesota, company’s most hazardous, […]

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Is NHTSA Ready to Strengthen Seat Backs?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the automotive industry have long agreed that the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard for seat back strength is inadequate. And, most safety advocates argue that FMVSS 207 has nothing to do with seat performance in real world crashes. Today, many vehicle seats are built to far exceed the […]

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Will the Regs Catch Up to Vehicle Autonomy?

In July, the California Utilities Commission granted Waymo (formerly the Google self-driving car project) the state’s first permit to test its driverless vehicles without safety drivers on public roadways. And, by the end of this year, the company planned to launch a driverless taxi service in Phoenix. Ford has promised the public a “fully autonomous […]

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Toyota Has the Most Keyless Ignition Related Deaths, But Takes no Action

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Five days after publication of this article Toyota announced its plans to add auto shutoff and auto park features for 2020 models to prevent CO deaths and rollaways – 13 years after first death and 7 years after Ford and GM. Last month, Dr. Sherry Hood Penney, 81, and Dr. James Livingston, 88, […]

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Who Does the CPSC Protect?

This spring saw the reign of a popular infant sleeping device unravel. The Fisher Price Rock ‘N Play Sleeper was a type of infant hammock, consisting of a fabric and padding-covered plastic shell, suspended on a foldable metal frame. The Rock ‘N Play was the brainchild of Fisher Price industrial designer Linda Chapman, whose first-born […]

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