Driver's News: Sept. 17, 2001

September 17, 2001

A multi-pronged terrorist attack at the beginning of the work day on Sept. 11 has left thousands of people dead in lower Manhattan and approximately 200 dead outside Washington, D.C., in what has become known as the “Day of Terror” – the single largest loss of life to terrorism on American soil. The attacks began shortly after 9 a.m., when a hijacked American Airlines plane slammed into the north tower of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan's financial district. A United Airlines plane crashed into the second tower some 18 minutes later. A third airplane, confirmed as another American plane, crashed into the Pentagon's fourth, fifth and sixth wings, destroying an area 150 feet wide and five stories tall and setting fire to the nerve center of the American military. A fourth airplane, belonging to United Airlines, was lost some 80 miles outside Pittsburgh, and is believed to have been kept from its target of Washington, D.C., by the actions of several heroic passengers.
Do your part for the rescue and aid efforts by contacting your local chapter of the Red Cross,


General Motors, Ford Motor Company and DaimlerChrysler are each pulling their massive resources together to aid the victims and the rescue efforts from Tuesday’s terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C. GM’s General Motors Foundation has donated $250,000 to the American Red Cross and is matching all employee contributions to the Red Cross on a dollar-for-dollar basis. Additionally, GM has fielded a fleet of trucks, vans and SUVs to aid workers in the recovery and clean-up efforts. The DaimlerChrysler Foundation has made a $10 million donation to help children who have lost parents in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. DCAG Chairman Juergen Schrempp said, "The attacks have deeply affected the lives and futures of many children who have lost a mother or father. While this can never replace the void in these children’s lives, it can help give them renewed hope." Ford is stepping up to the volunteer plate as well, with Red Cross donations and vehicles, including sending 10 Excursion SUVs out to assist the New York Fire Department.
Day of Terror: Big 3 Shut Down by Joseph Szczesny


After crash testing eight new midsize sport-utility vehicles, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) came away impressed. The IIHS rates vehicles as being "good," "acceptable," "marginal," or "poor." The testing regimen is especially important because it includes offset crash testing wherein the driver-side front end receives the bulk of the impact, a more real-world imitation of the most frequent form of collision. Results of the latest round of IIHS testing show that the 2001 Acura MDX, 2001 Mitsubishi Montero Sport, 2001 Suzuki Grand Vitara XL-7 and 2001 Toyota Highlander all received the highest rating: good. The 2002 Buick Rendezvous and 2002 Isuzu Axiom received "acceptable" ratings, while "marginal" scores went to the 2002 Chevrolet Trailblazer and 2001 Pontiac Aztek. The fact that none of the eight SUVs tested as "poor" marks a significant improvement in SUV safety engineering. The 2002 Ford Explorer was held back from testing while the company makes engineering changes that may affect its crash-test results.
Recall, Rollover and Safety Info by TCC Team (9/10/2001)
CR Likes the Explorer by Joseph Szczesny (8/13/2001)


Everybody knew that General Motors Corporation was pulling the plug on Oldsmobile, but until last Friday, nobody knew when. Now GM has made the official declaration that Olds ends with the 2004 model year. In a terse written announcement, the company said that "Oldsmobile production has remained unprofitable." This could inspire one to ask how a company that sold 289,172 vehicles in 2000 could fail, but there it is. The last Olds Intrigue and Aurora V-6 models will roll off the line next June as 2002s. A year later, the V-8 Aurora will take its final bow as a 2003 model. Only the Alero, Silhouette and Bravada will stick around for the 2004 model year. The end of Oldsmobile means that Mercedes-Benz will be the only surviving automaker in the world to have built cars in three separate centuries.

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Ford Motor Company is working on a system that could innovate seat-belt safety. The idea is a seat-belt shoulder strap that can inflate like an airbag in a crash. According to Steve Rouhana, an engineer at Ford’s Safety Research Center in Dearborn, Michigan, the belt would inflate and expand to spread the impact harshness of a collision over a wider area of the torso. "Today’s belts are two inches wide," Rouhana told the Tribune. "An inflatable belt would expand to six inches wide. That would distribute your body weight over more of the belt so that the belt would absorb more of the force of the impact."
Recall, Rollover and Safety Info by TCC Team (9/10/2001)
TCC Tip: Seatbelt Safety by TCC Team

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