Thursday, October 29, 2015
Coverage of the NTSB’s special investigation report on tire safety continues garnering significant media coverage. Rubber News (10/28, Moore) reports the agency has 11 recommendations to address the tire recall process. “The current tire registration process has proven to be ineffective in enabling tire manufacturers to compile complete and accurate customer contact information, which is vital to ensuring the success of a tire recall,” the NTSB said in the conclusions in its report. “We cannot change what happened in the past, and we cannot bring back the 539 fathers, mothers, sons, daughters and friends who lost their lives due to tire causes in 2013,” NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart said. “But action on today’s recommendations can help bring those numbers down in future years,” he added. The NTSB’s recommendations to the NHTSA call for changes to standards, recall, and safety requirements.
KXAN-TV Austin, TX (10/28, Ricke, 119K) reports that according to the NTSB, “close to two million tires could be too dangerous to be on the road right now, but the system for recalling those tires is broken.” Some 500 people are killed and 19,000 injured in the US each year in crashed involving faulty tire. T. Bella Dinh-Zarr, NTSB Vice Chairman asked “Why can’t be service tech tell me if my tires are recalled?” to which NTSB Highway Safety Investigator Robert Squire answered, “The main reason for that is there’s no easy way to do it.”
Landline Magazine (10/28, Fisher, 607K) reports the NTSB found the registration and recall system for tires “ineffective” and the tire industry provides “insufficient guidance on tire aging.” In its report, NTSB also “found that manufacturers’ registration process was ineffective,” the article reports. The NTSB however found that “more than 75 percent of all recalled vehicles have been serviced,” yet “the rate specific to tire recalls can be as low as 20 percent,” the article adds. The NTSB called on the NHTSA to streamline the way it lists recalled tires as it confuses website users.
The story was covered on local television by KOIN-TV Portland, OR (10/29, 5:25 p.m. PDT, 29K), WCSC-TV Charleston, SC (10/28, 7:12 p.m. EDT, 27K) and WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL (10/28, 4:46 p.m. CDT, 13K).
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
After a Delay of Years, Mazda Recalls 4.9 Million Vehicles
The New York Times
"As attention to auto safety intensified after General Motors’ admission last year that it had failed for a decade to disclose a deadly defect in millions of cars, many automakers have scrambled to address lingering safety problems.
This week, Mazda became the latest automaker to do so, revealing for the second time in three months that it had known about safety problems for years before alerting customers. In the latest case, Mazda announced that it was recalling 4.9 million vehicles worldwide, including 1.4 million in the United States, because too much grease in the ignition switch could cause a short circuit and possibly a fire.
The automaker knew about the problem seven years ago, according to a filing submitted this week to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It took action only after Japanese regulators opened an investigation this year."
Fiat Chrysler issues recalls.
NBC News (10/28, 3.32M) reports that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles “said Tuesday it is recalling 86,046 Ram trucks and 93,895 Jeep Cherokee sport utility vehicles for two different safety issues.” FCA “said the recall of certain 2015-2016 Ram 1500 pickups produced between mid-June and late September this year is to inspect and replace rear axles,” the article reports. This comes after an internal investigation found axle shafts on some trucks could “overheat and trigger the anti-lock brake system warning light, leading to component fracture and possible wheel separation,” the article adds. Meanwhile, the recall targeting certain 2015 Jeep Cherokee SUVs “is to replace air-conditioning lines that may have been installed close to the engines’ exhaust manifolds, posing a fire risk,” the article continues.
The Detroit News (10/27, Shepardson, 545K) reports that the automaker launched its investigation into the issue after two owners complained to the NHTSA, citing incidents involving smoke and fire. FCA “told NHTSA it has 31 reports of low-mileage failures in new Ram pickups,” the article reports. Earlier this year, “Fiat Chrysler agreed to a record setting $105 million, three-year consent decree with NHTSA for failing to properly carry out 23 recall campaigns covering more than 11 million vehicles,” the article adds.The story was also covered by the AP (10/27) and Reuters (10/27, Ajmera
General Motors announces third recall.
The CBS Evening News (10/27, story 10, 0:25, Pelley, 5.08M) reported, that after General Motors attempted two repairs that failed, it announced Tuesday a third recall of nearly 1.3 million 1997-2004 cars. “Oil leaks have started fires in more than 1300 of these cars after they were supposedly fixed by dealers,” CBS reported.
ABC World News (10/27, story 11, 0:15, Muir, 5.84M) reported that GM is in fact recalling 1.4 million older vehicles, including “the Chevy Impala, Pontiac Grand Prix and more.”
The New York Times (10/28, Jensen, Subscription Publication, 11.64M) reports that the recall is in fact the fourth for GM and is targeting 1.4 million vehicles, including about 1.3 million in the US. Alan Adler, a GM spokesman, said that associated malfunctions resulted in 19 minor injuries, as well as damage to some structures, such as garages. All models involved have a 3.8-liter V6 engine.” The models covered are the 1997-2004 Pontiac Grand Prix; 2000-4 Chevrolet Impala, 1998-99 Lumina and 1998-2004 Monte Carlo; 1998-99 Oldsmobile Intrigue; and 1997-2004 Buick Regal,” the article reports. The NHTSA received complaints from some customers, including the owner of a 2001 Buick Regal.
The story was also covered by the AP (10/27, Krisher).
Monday, October 26, 2015
WellSpan York Hospital is warning patients who had open-heart surgery at the hospital over a three-and-a-half-year period that they may have been exposed to bacteria.
Friday, October 23, 2015
Defective air bags being sold online.
Bloomberg News (10/23, Plungis, 2.66M) reports that “an underground market is growing” online for unauthorized replacements for Takata’s recalled air bags. Jennifer Timian, chief of the NHTSA’s recall management division, said that the agency has “learned of defective air bags for sale on EBay Inc,” according to the article. She said that consumers should only buy replacement air bags from authorized dealers. Timian is quoted as saying, “Under no circumstances should a person purchase an air bag off the Internet, or from a salvage yard or any other unauthorized source.”
Mazda recalling 1.36 million vehicles in the US over ignition switches.
The AP (10/22) reports that Mazda “is recalling 4.9 million older vehicles worldwide, including 1.36 million in the US, because ignition switches could overheat and catch fire.” The recall involved “the 1990-1996 323 and Protégé, the 1993-1998 626, the 1993-1995 929, the 1993-1997 MX-6, the 1989 to 1998 MPV and the 1992-1993 MX-3.”
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Toyota to recall 6.5 million cars over power window issue.
Reuters (10/21, Kim) reports that Toyota Motor Corp on Wednesday announced it will recall some 6.5 million vehicles globally over a defect in the power window switch in some models. In the US and North America, 2.7 million such vehicles will be subjected to repairs in a bid to fix the issue concerning the power windows.
Monday, October 19, 2015
GM recalls more than 3,000 trucks, SUVs for new ignition switch defect. USA Today (10/17, Gardner, 5.23M) reported online that General Motors announced Friday that it would be recalling “about 3,300 large pickup trucks and SUVs” due to newly discovered ignition switch defects. This comes but “a month after agreeing to pay $900 million to settle criminal charges” related to the earlier faulty switch problems. In this new case, some GM trucks “have ignition lock gears with an outer diameter that is larger than specifications, making them difficult to turn.”
GM adds vehicles to Takata air bag recall.
USA Today (10/18, Snider, 5.23M) reports in continuing coverage on the addition of 395 General Motors vehicles to the Takata air bag defect recall. The problem, according to the NHTSA is that the air bags “may rupture when deployed, causing possible serious injury or death.”
The AP (10/18, Krisher) reports that the global issue of “exploding Takata air bag inflators” has now “spread to newer vehicles, this time hitting a small number of 2015 General Motors cars and SUVs.” On Saturday, GM announced the recall of “more than 400 vehicles” due to potentially faulty side bag inflators that can “rupture and send shrapnel into drivers and passengers,” according to documents posted with NHTSA. As the AP points out, the Takata question “continues to widen with no end in sight.” NHTSA’s Gordon Trowbridge comments that “All Takata-made ammonium nitrate inflators are within the scope of our investigation,” adding that the agency “will take action” should it find “that additional recalls are necessary.”
MLive (MI) (10/18, Al Hajal, 739K) reports that the number of recalled vehicles was “395 vehicles of six different models,” bringing the number of recalled vehicles with Takata airbags to “more than 19 million.”
WIMS-AM South Shore, IN (10/17) also reported online.
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Medical malpractice rates “essentially flat” in 2015.
Medscape (10/7, Lowes, 232K) reports on a survey of medical malpractice rates by the Medical Liability Monitor finding that rates were “essentially flat” for 2015 in “three bellwether medical specialties” namely, obstetricians/gynecologists (up 0.6 percent), internists (up 0.5 percent), and general surgeons (down 0.2 percent). Rates fell in the Northeast, West, and Midwest, but were up 0.9 percent in southern states, with Texas, North Carolina, and Georgia having 5 percent increases. The report also found that 71 percent of rates were the same in 2015 as in 2014, 12 percent were lower, and 17 percent were increased. Decreases outnumbered increases in every year since 2006 until this year.