Is This Vehicle Safe?

As the death toll mounts, the Firestone-tire investigation is turning into a referendum on SUVs

It's amazing how a hundred deadly tire blowouts can clear a traffic jam on Capitol Hill. For more than a decade, the powerful auto industry has successfully fought any efforts in Washington to publish a ratings system for measuring a vehicle's propensity to roll over. Detroit wasn't going to let some meddling bureaucrats potentially gut its sacred cash cow, the wildly popular and profitable sport-utility vehicles (SUVS). But by last week, as the estimated death toll in the Firestone- tire recall debacle rose to 101, it became increasingly clear to Motown's allies in Washington that the battle had turned against them.

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