Since President Johnson signed the bills requiring all passenger vehicles to include safety belts in 1968, they have saved countless lives. However, with over 36 million of today’s American drivers over the age of sixty-five, current seatbelt designs might not pass muster for older bodies. It’s the same reason you don’t see a lot of old people involved in extreme sports or professional wrestling. An aged frame just can’t take the same sort of physical abuse as a malleable younger form.
So, with the elderly and frail in mind, the Ohio State University College of Medicine wants to design new seat belts to better protect older drivers. (Read More…)
Ford announced Monday that it would no longer use airbag inflators made by beleaguered supplier Takata. It’s the latest automaker to join a growing list of companies abandoning the controversial parts maker, Automotive News reported.
Honda, Nissan, Mazda and Toyota all announced they wouldn’t be using the airbag inflators, which could explode and spray metal shards into drivers and passengers, after the company’s record recall and fine by the Department of Transportation. Roughly 1.5 million Fords have been recalled as part of the airbag recall that has affected 19 million cars by 12 different automakers.
So far, eight deaths and nearly 100 injuries have been blamed on the faulty airbags. (Read More…)
Barring a last minute campaign from another manufacturer, Toyota will be number one in recalls on the American market for 2013. This will be the second year in a row that Toyota has topped the recall rankings. Since the 2009 sudden unintended acceleration controversy, Toyota has led the nation in recalls every year except 2011.
While I do think that the early 1990s produced some great cars, the US government-mandated automatically-deployed shoulder belts of the era (for vehicles without then-optional airbags) were utterly maddening. When the mechanisms went bad— as they often did— you had no shoulder belt or, perhaps even worse, a belt that deployed and retracted constantly during a drive; I experienced this once in a Mazda 323 and was hoping for a quick, painless nuclear war to remove me from the planet by the end of the drive. However, the American driving public had become mostly pro-seat-belt by that time, what with the debunking of the “you want to be thrown clear from the wreck” myth, and public outcry over automatic belts was limited to some minor grumbling. This was most definitely not in 1974, when all new cars and light trucks sold in the United States featured DOT-mandated interlocks that prevented engine starting unless driver and front-passenger belts were fastened; widespread outrage blowtorched the ears off of every congressman in the country, and the House killed the starter-interlock requirement late in the year. (Read More…)
I know racing is not a TTAC thing per se. But safety, old photos, lady luck and the human face at work are, at least on Sunday. Going through some an old Car & Driver from 1963, I ran across some remarkable photographs of Julius Weitmann. Two are about those rare cases when drivers lived to remember their rude ejections from race cars, as Hans Hermann here looking warily at the BRM that bucked him at Avus in 1958 after a few flips. (Read More…)