Blowouts and rollovers 

Like kids in a schoolyard standing next to a broken window, Firestone and Ford continue to point fingers at each other and yell, “It’s your fault!” “No, it’s yours!” “Is not!” “Is too!”

Who’s to blame for the tragic deaths and injuries associated with the rollovers of Ford Explorers equipped with Firestone tires?

Joan Claybrook, president of the watchdog group Public Citizen and former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, offered her opinion last week to the Institute for Public Accuracy. Her take: Both corporations share part of the blame, but there should also be considerable finger-pointing in the direction of federal regulators.

“Ford and Firestone have been blaming each other for the more than 200 deaths and 700 injuries that have occurred in Ford-Firestone crashes,” said Claybrook. “Both are right — Firestone produced a faulty tire, as Ford has said. And Ford manufactured and zealously marketed its Explorer despite knowing it was prone to rolling over. However, an ovelooked issue is NHTSA’s failure to issue key rollover crashworthiness standards.”

The technology is available to install synthetic roofs that act as a roll bar and prevent roofs from crushing, says Claybrook, but “constant pressure from automakers” has kept NHTSA from forcing change.

The agency, contended Claybrook, “has failed the American public.”

News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette, the Metro Times news editor. Call 313-202-8004 or e-mail

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