In this episode: The staggering scope of potentially deadly Takata airbags top the vehicle recalls list in Australia.
There are now well over 1.1 million vehicles on Australian Roads affected by the Takata Airbags vehicle recall. That's roughly one in eight passenger vehicles on our roads. Is yours one of them? Globally the total of Takata Airbag Vehicle recalls is an incredible 53 million.
Also in this episode: Another victim flows from flawed NSW police pursuit policy - this time, a cop. A Mercedes-Benz autopilot test in Europe nearly jams a respected Aussie journo into the wall at speed, would you like armour-piercing protection with your next Ford?, a Tesla owner pays $15,000 fine for - of all things - excessive CO2 emissions, road death turns 120, plus Choice weighs into the lemon car debate and lifts the lid on a grubby car industry secret.
There's also four nutbag commenters go under the spotlight - just for fun.
- Choice reveals Australian lemon cars brands - much to the car industry's distaste
Video timecode 00:40 or Transcript here >>
- Autonomous Merc loses the plot and nearly slams News Limited journo into the wall at speed
Video timecode 03:10 or Transcript here >>
- Ford launches armour-piercing bulletproof protection - but only for cops, not crooks
Video timecode 05:18 or Transcript here >>
- Singapore slam: Tesla Model S slapped for sky-high CO2 footprint. Take that, zero emissions
Video timecode 06:07 or Transcript here >>
- Takata Airbags Vehicle Recalls blowout exceeds 1.1 million in Australia, and 53 million globally
Video timecode 07:38 or Transcript here >>
- Police pursuits claim another victim in NSW - this time a respected police officer
Video timecode 09:58 or Transcript here >>
- Road death turns 120 - a not-so happy birthday (plus the staggering contemporary road toll)
Video timecode 15:04 or Transcript here >>
- I love them: some would say mentally deficient, some would say trolls ... but I like my nuts
Video timecode 17:09 or Transcript here >>
TAKATA AIRBAGS VEHICLE RECALLS TOP 1.1 MILLION
The number of Australian vehicles with potentially shrapnel-spraying Takata airbags has risen to more than 1.1 million. It's one of the biggest vehicle recalls in history - and certainly a major automotive safety scandal.
For Christ’s sake there are only 13 million passenger vehicles on Australian roads - meaning an incredible eight per cent of cars are now affected. If you’re stuck in traffic and you can see 100 cars, 12 of them will have those potentially deadly Takata airbags, on average. Maybe yours is one of them. Incredible. A sobering thought.
In its own testing of 30,000 recalled airbags, Takata assholes admitted 265 airbags were defective - ‘defective’ being a euphemism for ‘will kill you by spraying deadly shrapnel in your face in a crash’. (As if being in a crash wasn’t already bad enough.) That means almost 10,000 cars are driving around today on Australian roads with killer airbags subject to this vehicle recall. Possibly more - the Takata Airbag defect rate is thought to be higher in humid countries like Australia. Takata knew about the problem for more than a decade - suppressed the information and did nothing to mitigate the problem. Assholes. Another massive corporate scandal prioritising profit over human safety.
Globally, 53 million vehicles are being recalled. Fifty-three million - an impossibly large number. Waiting times for replacement will stretch to infinity. (Here’s what I mean: If you can make 10 airbags a minute - one every six seconds - it will take 10 years to manufacture 53 million replacement airbags.) This is an outrageous recall scandal - and what do we hear from Canberra? The ACCC’s Rod Sims? Darren Chester - Minister for Infrastructure and Transport? 10,000 ticking time bombs, grenades with loose pins - in your face - waiting to explode and shred you; deafening silence from Canberra. Disgraceful.
BRANDS AFFECTED SO FAR
- Honda - 421,000 vehicles
- Toyota - 258,000 vehicles
- Nissan - 224,000 vehicles
- Mazda - 150,000 vehicles
- BMW - 44,000 vehicles
- Subaru - 34,000 vehicles
- Chrysler - 5500 vehicles
TOTAL - 1,142,544 vehicles
To find out if your car is affected: go to recalls.gov.au
Vehicle Recalls: The Owner's Guide
These are the top six things you need to know about your car getting recalled
- Vehicle recalls in Australia are issued for safety-related defects only. Non-safety-related issues are dealt with internally by car companies and are often called 'service campaigns'.
- Vehicle recall repair work is carried out for free, at authorised car dealers (Toyota dealers for Toyota owners, etc.). So are service campaigns.
- Vehicle recalls are officially administered by the ACCC, but issuing a vehicle recall is usually and overwhelmingly a voluntary process, which car companies elect to do. (This allows the Minister and the ACCC to remain asleep in Canberra.)
- If your vehicle cops a recall, that doesn't mean it's defective - defects usually run at a low rate within a range of vehicles. Getting your car recalled means it's potentially defective.
- Recalls must be listed on the ACCC's recalls website >>
Carmakers write to owners of recalled vehicles as well. That's great if you are the first owner of a vehicle and you haven't changed address since you purchased the vehicle, but if you've moved, or if you bought the vehicle used, you should contact the manufacturer in writing or via their customer contact call centre, and let them know your details so they can contact you in the event of future recalls.
- If you buy a used car, it's a great idea to visit (or at least contact) the nearest dealership and get them to see if there are any outstanding recalls or service campaigns on the car. If there are, book it in. The work will be done for free.
CHOICE ENTERS LEMON CAR ARENA
(Carmakers instantly offside.)
GM Holden, Ford and Audi took first, second and third places, respectively, in Choice's recent Lemon Cars and the Law investigation.
Full details here >>
MALEVOLENT MERC GOES 100% 'SKYNET' ON MOTORWAY
News Limited’s national motoring editor Josh Dowling was busy, apparently sucking on Mercedes-Benz’s teat in Europe the other day testing the new $100,000 E-Class’s automatic overtaking function when the car apparently decided to go 'Christine' on him and attempted to drive autonomously into a wall.
According to Mr Dowling, the Mercedes-Benz chief engineer alleged that perhaps the assistance function wasn’t actually activated. Apparently all you have to do is pull the cruise control stalk and indicate to change lanes automatically - seems pretty simple. Mr Dowling says he believes the system was active, and just didn’t work. You know I’ve had that kind of thing happen - every time there’s an incident in one of their cars, you can count on a corporate arsehole back-handedly alleging it was your fault. The much-vaunted Merc technology couldn’t possibly malfunction, could it?
So, let’s see: if someone who tests cars for a living and who’s done so for two decades, and has just had a briefing on how to use that technology, attempts to use the system and it fails to work - for whatever reason - good luck general public. Remember the first A-Class that parked on the roof after a moose test with a car full of journos? This sounds just like that to me.
WOULD YOU LIKE ARMOUR-PIERCING PROTECTION TO GO?
Ford will offer optional armour-piercing bulletproof doors on its police vehicles in the USA
Ford has actually had basic ballistic panels available to US police departments since 2008, but these are only able to stop handguns and other conventional rounds. The new protection is armour-piercing-proof - good enough to stop even 30-calibre rounds from Liberace’s AK-47 (right).
Armour-piercing protection is about $1500 a door if you’re planning a tour of South Central LA any time soon, or the back-blocks of Detroit or Washington. They’re not available to the public, these doors, and they’re destroyed when the police vehicles are scrapped, so the perpetrators of evil can’t get their grubby little hands on them - which seems only fair.
CO2-belching penalty for so-called 'zero emissions' Tesla Model S
And the Tesla Model S has been slapped by the Singaporean Government for being a filthy, CO2-belching shitbox. Counter-intuitively. Joe Nguyen apparently spent months battling Singapore’s bigwigs to bring over the Model S he purchased in Hong Kong - and when he finally succeeded, he got slapped with a S$15,000 penalty for excessive CO2 emissions. Which seems, superficially perverse for a so-called ‘zero emissions’ vehicle.
But the electricity had to come from somewhere.
It works like this: all hydrocarbon vehicles in Singapore with less than 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre get a S$30,000 rebate for being green. After that there’s a sliding scale culminating in vehicles with more than 230 grams of CO2 per kilometre copping a S$30,000 fine. Under UNECE test protocols the Model S consumes 444 watt-hours of electricity per kilometre from its battery, and the government applied a conversion factor of half a gram of CO2 per watt-hour, labelling the Tesla a comparatively heavy polluter at 222 grams of CO2 per kilometre, and hence the fine. Even though nothing was belching from its nonexistent exhaust pipe. So, the Tesla Model S: Impressive, unreliable, and maybe not actually as green as you thought.
More on Tesla:
PROPORTIONALITY AND A POLICER OFFICER THE LATEST NSW POLICE PURSUIT CASUALTIES
Police pursuits in NSW have claimed another victim - this time, one of their own. Sergeant Geoffrey Richardson - an 18-year veteran of the NSW Police, a respected officer - was tragically killed recently when he apparently lost control of his police car. He hit a tree and died at Allandale, in the Hunter Valley, north of Sydney. Sergeant Richardson was on his way to assist officers who were pursuing an allegedly unlicensed driver in an allegedly unregistered car.
It would be fair to say that the outcome here, when weighed against the gravity of the alleged offences, is massively disproportionate. Society did not win in this pursuit, again. This is a recurring theme with NSW Police pursuits. Only the details change. A good man, dead, and the alleged offender - a 34-year-old man previously disqualified from driving for life in 2000 - a card-carrying scumbag in my view - alive and kicking. It’s not fair - and bad things certainly happen to good people. But you have to ask yourself if this death was preventable, and whether a different way of doing business wouldn’t just keep everyone safer in future.
The fact is, the police in New South Wales have a dirty little secret about pursuits - and they do not like it oxygenated. I’ll have a lot more to say about that next week. The cost of this pursuit culture - this time - was the death of Geoffrey Richardson. The cops in the pursuit actually lost the fleeing vehicle - twice, on the same night - so much for all that alleged advanced driver training. They arrested their damn suspect subsequently, presumably by driving up, sotto voce, and knocking on his frigging door. You know: Here are some handcuffs; would you mind slipping them on? Which, when you think about it, is a fair bit safer, operationally.
If only they’d thought of doing that initially - if only the police management culture and underlying legislation supported this safer way of doing business - in all but the most grave circumstances. (Three terrorists with a bomb in the car - pursue like you mean it. Suspected abduction of a child - go nuts. Dickhead driving without a licence - put the friggin’ dog back on the chain because it’s not worth the risk.)
It’s way past time to fix the broken ‘pursue at all costs’ They’ve already done it in Queensland. No trivial pursuits there. And it’s working. Outstanding. If they’d already followed suit here, Sergeant Geoffrey Richardson would have gone home after night shift and got up all grumpy on Sunday morning - and lived the rest of his life. His children would have grown up to know their father as adults. And we’d still have an outstanding officer keeping us safe. As things stand, five or six officers who could be fighting actual crime are going to be working on the Critical Incident team to investigate Sergeant Richardson’s death, for weeks if not months.
This is the price we pay, routinely, for a broken NSW police pursuit culture.
The New South Wales cops don’t want you to know that fewer than 10 per cent of pursuits occur for suspected criminal offences - the rest of the time they’re just playing trivial pursuit. Chasing people, putting you, me and themselves at massive risk over things they could just - I dunno - knock on the door about, later. As with this knucklehead recidivist unlicensed driver. They don’t want you to know that 55 per cent of the time, the suspects just get away - so the majority of pursuits actually fail in their primary objective - to stop the car. They don’t want you to know that 40 per cent of the people killed in police pursuits are just innocent bystanders. They don’t want you to know that they failed to implement 17 critical pursuit reforms advised by the Deputy Coroner, and they don’t want you to know that one in every 17 pursuits ends in a crash - and the risk to society is off the Richter every time they do it. They don’t want you to know that hardened criminals routinely exploit the pursuit policy’s vulnerabilities and manipulate the circumstances just to get away - successfully. They don’t want you to know that the pursuit stats are so bad, so atrociously unacceptable, that they removed them from their annual report, nine years ago. Assholes.
- Full report on NSW police pursuits >>
UNHAPPY 120th BIRTHDAY, ROAD DEATH
And just before we unleash the nuts - a spot of pub trivia for the weekend: This year - 2016 - marks the 120th anniversary of modern cars killing people. Make a note in your diary: August 17, 2016 - the 120th anniversary of the death of Bridget Driscoll. Killed as a pedestrian crossing Dolphin Terrace in the grounds of Crystal Palace in London. She was 44 years old.
Mrs Driscoll was mowed down at an outrageous four miles an hour by Arthur Edsall, who was giving demonstration rides in his new-fangled automobile from the Anglo-French Motor Carriage Company. Four miles an hour - count them: four - incredible - a witness said the car was travelling at (quote) “a reckless pace, in fact, like a fire engine”. Wouldn’t it be interesting to teleport that witness to the present day, and take them for a hot lap in a WRX STI? Take that … reckless pace.
Ms Driscoll’s death occurred just a few short weeks after a new Act of Parliament in the UK increased the permitted speed of cars to 14 miles per hour (that’s 23 kilometres per hour). It’s a wonder men can live at that speed. Talk about living life on the edge. (Bicycles actually go faster than that.) The jury returned a verdict of accidental death following a six-hour inquest, and thus Arthur Edsall was never prosecuted. The Coroner, Percy Morrison, is reported to have said he hoped (quote): “such a thing would never happen again”. And of course, that worked out so well. According to the World Health Organisation, in 2010, road death killed 1.24 million people - three and a half thousand a day, one hundred and forty an hour. One person every 25 seconds.
The dark side of us being liberated by the car.
A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME
No. It’s not, but it should be. If the world was fair, or even just literally true, when you think about it, the new Bugatti Chiron does manage to shit on just about everything else. Except in terms of seating capacity, towing capacity, off-road ability, low-key-edness, and fuel economy. Except for stuff like that.
It’s very fast.
Wouldn’t you admire a carmaker that had the balls to name a supercar the Shiton? Respect.
Tell me there’s not an award-winning advertising campaign in that: You’ve shit on people your entire life. Isn’t it time for a new Bugatti?
A Shiton supercar would even change course of the English language:
- Check him out … he’s just been shitoned.
- Mate: you shitoned him, it was beautiful.
Shitoned: The past participle of the verb: 'To shiton'... beautiful.
NO ARTIFICIAL FLAVOURS
I wondered what that taste was, too. Good thing I didn’t step in it, and then walk on the carpet. I did allege that there were 47 different flavours of gasoline available, in my octane rating myth-busting episode >>. It was just a metaphor intended to convey the large number of confusing petroleum brands in the market. I forgot momentarily the fact that there are people like you in the world, Galaxybeing1, whose mother and father are brother and sister. In mitigation, your worship, I humbly offer the court the following 47 flavours of gasoline:
Amoco, Ampol, Ampride, Aral, Asda, Attock, Bapco, Bharat, Caltex, Cenex, Challenge, Chevron, Citgo, Clark, Conoco, Delec, Delta, Eastern, Emo, Engen, ENI, Esso, Exxon-Mobil, Frontier, Gas America, Gas Rite, Golden Fleece, Gulf Oil, Gull, Industries, Hancock, Hess, Husky Energy, Idemitsu, Indian Oil, Irving Oil, Jet, Kroger, Lanka, Liberty, Marathon, Maxol, Mohawk, Pacific Pride, Pemex, Projet, Texaco, Valero…
I could keep going - there are at least 47 more brands than that - but what would be the point? Galaxybeing1: You’ve just been Shitoned. Have a nice day.
Well, J: everyone’s entitled to their opinion.
If the world were fair, a buffoon would look like this (right) - just for ease of identification.
WHY RESPECTFUL JOKES WON'T WORK
No - it’s just you.
Calling the Mercedes-Benz A180 the ‘Gay-180’ in my recent Merc Myths report >> was a joke. Not homophobia.
- Homophobia is the irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals.
- Discrimination is the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people.
- And prejudice is a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.
I don’t actually think a car can be gay - or a lesbian - and I know a lot about lesbians, having watched endless movies concerning their conduct - but although a car cannot be gay, it can conform in a sense to a gay stereotype. It might even appeal to a stereotypically gay person. Like the Village People. Or the Weather Girls: It’s rainin’ men. Or leather chaps.
Above: One of these is very, very gay. The other is a man with his butt exposed, wearing leather chaps on a motorcycle
So let’s talk about stereotypes, and jokes. Not all blonde chicks are dumb, right? But enough have been portrayed as stereotypically dumb over time for blonde jokes to be funny and relevant.
How do you sink a submarine full of blondes? Knock on the hatch.
Not all Muslims are terrorists - most Muslims, the vast majority, are not - but enough are.
What do you call a terror attack in Baghdad? A selfie.
Not all priests are child molesters - most are not, clearly - but enough are, right? It’s a definite thing.
Two pedophile priests are sitting at the bar. One turns to the other and says: ‘I’ll swap you two fives for a 10.’
The entire point about humour is two things: exaggeration and disrespect. If you haven’t got those two key ingredients, you don’t bake yourself a joke.
What to you call an epileptic under a big pile of dead leaves? Russell.
This is important. Not all gay men act stereotypically gay. They’re not all as camp as some proverbial row of tents.
But why do you reckon it’s so hard for a woman in the modern world to find a man who’s gentle, sensitive, caring, good looking and well-groomed? Why do you reckon that is? It’s because all those men already have boyfriends.
None of those jokes is politically correct, respectful, sensitive to offence, whatever. You might choose not to tell them at a job interview. But they’re not hate speech, or discrimination. They’re actually inclusive. They’re saying ‘hey, man up: you’re part of society’. They’re funny because they exaggerate the stereotype, and they’re disrespectful of it. The core of humour, the foundation, is exactly this stereotypical exaggeration, and the great lubricant of humour, the WD-40 of the japester universe, is disrespect.
Show me the political cartoon that is respectful. What would that actually look like? It would be a photograph in the news. And it would not be funny. Exaggeration and disrespect. There’s no such thing as a politically correct joke. It does not exist. If you let those politically correct retards run the world, they would prosecute a genocide on jokes. Humour would just die out.
Why are blonde jokes so short? Hmmm? Because it helps fat, middle-aged white men like me remember them.
Which brings me to taking offence. Jokes are about the freedom of speech. That’s why there’s not too many stand-up comedians in North Korea, or Tehran, or Yemen. Offence is the price we pay for the freedom of speech. It can be quite therapeutic - I’ve met people who just aren’t happy unless they’re offended. Tell a joke, any joke. The most benign joke:
If you poke Bambi’s eyes out, what do you call it? No idea.
Any joke, and some politically correct dickhead with 10 rabbits up his arse - probably named Warren - is going to get offended. Guaranteed.
So if you want to be offended by my reports: knock yourself out. No law against that. Offensive speech is the speech that needs protecting. Jokes need protecting, but there have to be limits, and for me, the limit is persecution and vilification - so you’ll never hear me inciting hatred of, or violence against whomever. That’s off the table. No advice actually to go and poke Bambi’s eyes out, or lobbying to kill blondes to improve humanity’s IQ. Vilification is morally wrong and also possibly illegal. But jokes rock. You can joke about everything. Mass murder. Even rape.
Did you hear about the woman who was raped by a troupe of mime artists? They committed unspeakable acts.