Dill Finally Launches Tire Valve Stem Recall

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

OXFORD, NC-One year after a fatal crash and seven months after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched a defect investigation into 30 million Chinese-manufactured tire valve stems that could crack prematurely, Dill Air Control Products has finally announced a recall.

Following the Twisted Trail of Chinese Imports

A 42-year-old Missouri man purchased a go-cart from the local farm supply store for his kids. With less than four hours on the rugged-looking machine, he and a friend were found dead, the machine overturned with a fractured front suspension where a critical weld failed. The defect appears to be just another one of a myriad of continuing quality problems that have plagued the go-cart and other motorized products distributed by SunL, the Irving, Texas importer.

NHTSA Grants SRS Request: Opens Investigation into Ford OEM Valve Stems

Reprinted from The Safety Record, V5, I5

Washington, D.C. - Less than two weeks after Safety Research & Strategies requested the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to open a defect investigation into Chinese tire valve stems used as OEM equipment in some Ford vehicles, the Office of Defects Investigation has complied.

On September 25, SRS President Sean Kane sent a letter to Daniel Smith, NHTSA's Associate Administrator for Enforcement, asking him to widen the current probe on prematurely cracking rubber snap-in valve stems manufactured by Shanghai Baolong / Topseal Automotive to include Ford vehicles which also used the Topseal stems. On October 14, ODI opened a Preliminary Evaluation (PE08-060) into more than a million Topseal stems on Ford vehicles, citing the possibility that they may crack due to poor ozone resistance, leading to tire damage and a possible loss-of-control crash.

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.

Complaints to NHTSA Matter

Reprinted from The Safety Record, V5, I4, July / August 2008

On August 12, 2006, Rafael B. Melo, Claudeir Jose Figueiredo and Carlos Souza were ejected from a 2000 Chevrolet Express 2500 Cargo Van, when its 2004 Compass Telluride steel belted radial tire failed, causing the van to rollover. Melo and Figueiredo died in the crash. Souza suffered a permanent brain injury. In May 2007, the families of the victims filed a civil lawsuit against the Chinese manufacturer, Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Company, and the American importer, Foreign Tire Sales of Union, New Jersey. A year would elapse between the crash and a recall of the defective tires. But it only took two months from the time that FTS -- spurred by litigation -- reported the deaths to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to the launch of a campaign to remove the defective tires from the road.

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