The Number of Tire Age Recommendations Grows: Bridgestone-Firestone is the Latest Entry

Tire age degradation hit the radar of safety advocates, regulators and members of Congress following the Firestone ATX / Wilderness recalls in 2000 and 2001 when experts concluded that age degradation played a role in the catastrophic failure of these tires. Since the recalls Safety Research & Strategies (SRS) began examining what was known about the issue worldwide and found startling evidence that both tire and vehicle manufacturers have known tires, whether or not they are actually used, can experience tread separations due to internal oxidative aging, a process that is largely invisible. Following SRS' docket submissions to NHTSA about their findings and an active campaign to alert the public of the danger through the media, some manufacturers have quietly started to address the issue.

NHTSA Launches Quiet Campaign to Protect Industry

WASHINGTON, D.C. - If you didn't already know it was there, you might have missed it entirely in the 45-page proposal to upgrade the roof crush resistance standard: a one-sentence clause tucked in Part 13 amid federal boilerplate, indemnifying manufacturers who met the proposed standard from lawsuits alleging a defect.

Known as a preemption clause, NHTSA's August 19 proposal was the second time in as many months the federal agency has wrapped civil justice reform and auto safety standards into one package that is rousing the ire of consumer advocates, plaintiffs' attorneys, and those concerned about Federalism and cost of care transfer from the industry to the public sector.

Ford Continues Fight to Seal Volvo Roof Strength Documents

Since Ford Motor Company purchased Volvo in 1999 and made the company a division of its Premier Auto Group, Ford has reaped significant profits from the Swedish automaker whose hallmark is safety. But, Ford is also inheriting a headache as Volvo's position on important safety issues conflicts with those of it corporate parent-and these conflicts keep surfacing in the public despite Ford's efforts to keep them secret. This conflict is playing out in litigation and in has seeped into the public in one of the most controversial areas of motor vehicle safety-occupant protection in rollover crashes.

Frontal Offset Crash Test Regulation Scrapped

To the dismay of some highway safety groups, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has decided to withdraw a proposal to add a high speed frontal offset crash test to its occupant crash protection standard.

UL Self-Certification Program Raises Safety Questions

A fire resulting in the death of a 9-year-old boy allegedly caused by a window air-conditioner led plaintiff's lawyers to uncover a little-known Underwriters Laboratory (UL) program that allows companies to certify they meet UL standards without UL testing.

The Goldstar brand air conditioner at issue in the case was certified by LG under UL's self-certification program known as "Total Certification Program" or TCP. LG claimed the air conditioner complied with UL 484, the standard for room air conditions. But plaintiff's testing found plastic components were excessively flammable and did not meet the standard and that UL did no testing to confirm compliance.

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