August 20, 2015
Safety Research & Strategies, a product safety research and consulting firm with a specialty in automotive defects, has added automotive electronics diagnostic expert Aaron Beltram to its interdisciplinary team.
Beltram is an experienced automotive technician, working for six years in Chrysler dealerships. In his last job, Beltram mentored the entry-level technicians, and was the service department’s key technician for high-level electrical issues and transmission service, diagnosis, repair, and overhauls. He also holds Automotive Service Excellence certifications in eight areas and is a Chrysler Master Certified Technician.
Beltram is also a graduate of the New England Institute of Technology, earning an Associate’s degree in Advanced Automotive Technology in 2008, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Management in March of 2015. His studies included courses in Advanced Electricity and Electronics, Advanced Engines and Engine Computer Control Systems
“The Toyota Unintended Acceleration crisis really underscored the need for detailed understanding of vehicle diagnostics,” says SRS president Sean Kane. “It is increasingly important to understand problems at the diagnostic level in order to guide investigations into the myriad of complex problems that are creating defects in today’s vehicles.”
The GM ignition switch defect that resulted in loss of control and airbag non-deployments in Chevy Cobalts similarly required a better understanding of the vehicle electronics and diagnostics. Hundreds of individuals were killed and injured in crashes in which the ignition would slip out of the Run position, turning off the power steering, the brakes, and disabling the air bag. A NHTSA Special Crash Team and a Wisconsin state trooper were able to put a 2006 GM Technical Service Bulletin regarding inadvertent turning of key system together with the circumstances of a fatal Wisconsin crash to identify the root cause, but neither the agency nor GM took note of their conclusions. The defect continued to harm vehicle occupants for another seven years.
“It’s critical in the early stages of determining the cause of a crash to have a thorough understanding of the vehicle system and diagnostics to challenge assumptions about the way a system is supposed to work,” Kane says. “With today’s vehicles rapidly becoming computers on wheels, knowledge of automotive electronics is a must. We are confident that Aaron’s experience and education will help us better serve our clients.”
Beltram’s technical experience rounds out the SRS team skill-set, which includes professionals with backgrounds in engineering, injury biomechanics, library science, law, journalism, and advocacy.