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From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Dateline NBC Tire Story
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2000 12:14:38 -0400

Jim Springer wrote:

> The mob mentality this has shown really amazes me.
> What are there 88 incidents that MAY be connected
> to these tires.  Think I read that there were 15
> million produced over the last five years, with
> 4/car that is approximately 4 million vehicles
> over a 5 year period.  And it is not clear that
> the tire caused the problem.  I have had tires
> delaminate and there was always a warning, usually
> a thumping.  Now if I continued to drive at a high
> rate of speed in a vehicle that was designed for
> utility not road racing and the tire lost its
> tread I think that is the drivers problem more
> than the tires.  Incidentally I just put high end
> Michelins on my wife's car and one of them had a
> catastophic failure, blew out the sidewall and it
> was properly inflated.  Luckily she was in a
> parking lot at the time.  Mechanical things fail.
> Maybe it is our responsibility to accept the
> responsibility that comes with using anything
> mechanical.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for saying exactly what I've been
thinking for awhile now.

In addition to the points you make, another consideration is the
driver's contribution.  Having had blowouts in everything from a 14'
Step Van to a sports car traveling at (extremely) high speed to an
old Ford Bronco (want to talk about an unstable vehicle!), I just
have a really hard time believing that any straight line travel
blowout is going to cause any vehicle to just up and wreck.  If
there is any substance at all to this story, it is an indictment of
the zero skill level of the average driver.

Unfortunately this country has turned into a nation of whining
pussys.  While rummaging around, I recently found a stack of Popular
Mechanics magazine from  '58 and '59.  Re-reading these magazines
was a stark memory refresh as to how it used to be, both in terms of
taking personal responsibility and about tires.  One article
reported on the then-very new radial tubeless tire from Goodyear and
noted that this tire should enable one to drive from coast to coast
without suffering a single blowout!  Even up into the 60s, blowouts
were just a part of driving.  Still is, unfortunately.

I think that when this event goes down in history, it will rank
right up there with the Audi unintended acceleration, the chevy
truck gas tanks, the Alar apple scare and the destruction of the
nuclear power industry, all fictions created by a wild, reckless and
out of control mass media, aided and abetted by the average
citizen's complete and total technical illiteracy.

> Want to put these tire failures in perspective,
> just saw some Congressional hearings on childhood
> immunizations.  Immuniztions MAY be causing over
> 1000/year children to be adversly affected, many
> ending up with autistic symptoms.  Immunizations
> are government mandated and seem to be harming a
> lot more people that tires bought voluntarily from
> Firestone.

Let's don't go there.  I can still recall the palpable fear in the
air during pre-Polio vaccine days.  This anti-vaccine stuff is just
so much more neo-luddism.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Dateline NBC Tire Story
Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2000 01:42:55 -0400

Hugh wrote:
> For what it's worth. I just crunched some numbers in the Excel
> spreadsheet that's been made available to us. I was curious about the
> deaths. Out of the 88 deaths reported, 72 came from 55 cases of tread
> separation. The table really makes good reading and people should study
> it before passing judgment. You guy's can call it "mob mentality" or
> whatever but, it sure looks like there is fire behind the smoke. The
> more you hear and the more you read, the more you come to see something
> is wrong here. It's more than just a fabrication on some idiot spin
> doctor's report, it really is a problem. The 1453 incidents and the 88
> deaths are just a part of the story. World wide, it's a much bigger
> story. Ford is partly at fault and Firestorm is partly at fault. It
> begins to look like Firestorm might disappear into the dust.

I'm not sure whether there is anything there or not.  Assuming the
validity of the government's numbers (very risky), let's first put
the 88 deaths in perspective.  They're lost in the noise of the
approx 40,000 annual deaths from vehicle accidents.  Something on
the order of that number of people are killed annually by spurious
air bomb deployment.

A couple of other questions:

How many of those deaths were solely caused by the tire failure?

How many deaths were the result of other problems such as excessive
speed and/or improper inflation and/or a no-skilled driver?

We'll never know because of the simple fact that the government
cooks the statistics to fit the problem du jour.  A fairly recent
graphic example was their cooking the numbers on air bags casualties
last year.  Turns out that the air bag was credited with saving the
life of anyone who survived a wreck when the air bomb deployed.  On
the other side, a casualty was not credited to air bomb deployment
unless it was the exclusive cause of the casualty.  So, for example,
the spurious deployment of an air bomb that caused a fatal wreck was
not blamed on the air bomb.  This is just one typical example.
Another example is the long term practice by NTSHA of having cops
code accidents as being caused by excessive speed in any instance
where speed was involved even if speed was not a factor.  Say, where
a guy runs a stop sign and hits someone who was exceeding the speed
limit.  This practice let the government justify all their gestapo
tactics during the 55 mph era.  Check out the National Motorist
Association for more details.

Whatever the degree of design defects in the tire, I think that this
is a horrible reason to trash a very old and established company
like Firestone.  When all the BS quits stinking, I believe that the
root cause of these relatively few instances of tread separation
will be Ford's selling an inherently unstable vehicle and then
trying to cover the problem with improper inflation instructions.
Ford's original Bronco, an example of which my father still owns,
was so unstable as to be almost undrivable on the street and things
haven't improved much since.

I don't advocate ANY government involvement in this matter.  Anyone
stupid enough to buy a vehicle that handles like a Ford SUV does
deserves what he/she gets.


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