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Auto Industry Analyst: 'NHTSA Ford/Firestone Database Problems'

Auto Industry Analyst: 'NHTSA Ford/Firestone Database Problems'

TALKRADIO 570 KLIF-AM ED WALLACE
Talkradio 570 KLIF-AM Ed Wallace. (PRNewsFoto)[JL]
DALLAS, TX USA 06/11/2001
   

    DALLAS, July 5 The automotive industry analyst who won the
2001 Gerald R. Loeb Award for excellence in business journalism reports
finding what he calls a significant problem with the Ford and Firestone
database provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  He
says it's not always a Firestone product quality failure but a simple
programming error that often produces a record of a Firestone failure -- in
the database that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has used
to track tread separation by tire.  NHTSA's view differs.
    Longtime industry observer Ed Wallace, host of the weekly radio show
"Wheels With Ed Wallace," reported to his listeners last Saturday that he
discovered an embedded Sort command error in the database on Thursday of last
week.  Wallace often uses his own software programs to validate the reams of
data he uses in the show, his weekly "Wallace Report" newsletter and columns
he writes for national publications.
    Wallace broke the story June 30, 2001 on his 570 KLIF program, reporting
that he had found a significant problem with the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration's database of Firestone problems on Ford Explorers.
Among Wallace's findings:  A flawed "Sort Command" would assign one incident
of alleged tire separation to two completely different vehicles -- one of
which would only be a computer generated accident.  It often then transposed
data such as tire brand and type, mileage of vehicle and or tires, and what
manufacturing location had originally made the tires.  Reading his
correspondence with NHTSA aloud, including its thanks for his "independent
verification of the error," Wallace told his audience that this error could
have induced reports of many Firestone tire failures on Ford products in the
media, failures that never actually happened.
    In responding to media inquiries, however, NHTSA has stated that the
problem has been corrected -- and that it only existed for 10 days.  Wallace
doubts that statement as to the amount of time the database was incorrect.
Additionally, the agency's website credits Safety Forum, not Wallace, with
discovering the error.
    In its two evening newscasts this past Friday, KDFW-FOX Four in Dallas
reported independently verifying this problem based on Wallace's research and
broadcast.  Dallas' WFAA-ABC Channel Eight did similar investigative reporting
of the issue on Monday of this week.
    Wallace is making all his findings and data public.  His correspondence
with NHTSA, the agency's replies verifying the problem, how he found this
error, what it could mean to you, and the entire original NHTSA database are
available for download and independent verification at
http://www.Insideautomotive.com.

    About Ed Wallace
    A longtime auto industry analyst and journalist, Wallace has contributed
articles to "Car and Driver," "AMI Auto World Weekly," "American Way," and
"RPM," a national dealer's publication.  His numerous broadcasting awards
include the 2001 Gerald R. Loeb Award for excellence in business journalism.
Dallas station 570 KLIF AM broadcasts "Wheels With Ed Wallace" Saturday
mornings from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.