European Pedestrian Crash Standards Will Make Global Changes in Car Design Inevitable

Imagine a Jag without the company's signature image leaping off the front hood or an SUV outfitted with exterior airbags. In Europe, that metal cat is already extinct and those airbags are on their way in, under new European Union pedestrian impact regulations that will take effect in October. Although American automakers are not embracing these changes, manufacturers and suppliers say that the global drive to increase pedestrian safety coupled with the global nature of the auto industry will eventually affect cars sold in the U.S., possibly forcing changes to auto design, price, styles and fuel efficiency.

"Aged" Tire Case Numbers Grow: Spares and Used tires Top the List

Following Firestone, SRS began tracking cases involving "aged" tires-tires older than 6-years-that have failed catastrophically causing crashes. With more than 65 documented cases, several patterns are emerging. Nearly one-third of these cases involved spare tires, approximately one-third were tires purchased used. The remaining cases involve tires that were mounted on little-used sports cars, old stock sold as new, or their histories are unknown. What links all of these cases together is the fact that the tires have ample tread and appear safe when they are put into service.

SRS Petitions NHTSA on Tire Aging

Click here to see a PDF of the petition.

Click here for more information on tire aging.

Inspector General Finds NHTSA Over Budget and Under Performing in Early Warning System

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a second audit report related to NHTSA performance and cited the agency's poor implementation and cost overruns associated with the Advanced Retrieval Tire, Equipment, Motor Vehicle Information System (ARTEMIS). ARTEMIS is the NHTSA system developed to analyze and identify trends in the early warning reporting data required from manufacturers (following the TREAD Act) that includes reports on deaths and injuries, property damage and warranty data.

District Court Rules “Regional Recalls” are Legal

In response to a lawsuit filed by Center for Auto Safety and Public Citizen alleging NHTSA was illegally allowing regional recalls, U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle, published an opinion finding that controversial practice is not in violation of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act or the Administrative Procedure Act (http://www.dcd.uscourts.gov/04-392a.pdf). The opinion also affirmed that the agency had the ability to exercise its discretion to determine whether regional recalls are appropriate. Regional recalls may include an entire state, counties within a state, or a cluster of states within a geographical region. The plaintiffs were seeking a declaration that the government's role in regional recalls is unlawful. They were also seeking an order prohibiting the NHTSA from allowing automakers to conduct these types of recalls in the future. [Center for Auto Safety, Public Citizen v. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, 04-392 (ESH)].

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