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Perhaps sensing regulatory blood in the water, shipping and hauling interests reportedly are again actively promoting the idea that bigger, heavier trucks be allowed on the nation's highways. You'd think just the potential impact of these heavier trucks on the nation's aging bridges would make this a non-starter. But no.

Although no new legislation has been introduced as yet, two new groups, Americans for Modern Transportation and the Safer Hauling and Infrastructure Protection Coalition, are again advocating for longer and heavier trucks. Made up of businesses that rely heavily on truck hauling, the groups reportedly are actively lobbying members of Congress.

Last Proposals Were Defeated

Federal law limits big rigs to 80,000 pounds and no more than two trailers. Many of the nation's bridges were designed based on a formula that includes this maximum weight. Proposals that would have increased allowable truck weights to 91,000 (or by 5.5 tons), and allowed longer lengths, were defeated by safety advocacy groups and some trucking groups in 2015. The poor state of the nation's bridges was a big reason why.

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Volkswagen is recalling 766,000 vehicles worldwide to fix faulty software affecting the braking control system. The recall affects VW, Audi, and Skoda brands. The braking control system may not function properly in certain driving conditions, such as when the driver over-steers, under-steers or slams on the brakes, the company said. The company was to release more details later.

Meanwhile, faulty fuel pump parts that have resulted in the U.S. recall of more than 450,000 SUVs by Volkswagen and its Porsche and Audi brands have potentially spread to 13 other automakers and suppliers, according to the German auto-parts maker Continental AG.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is now probing whether vehicles and parts sold by those other companies also contain defective fuel pump flanges from Continental, which can crack and cause a fuel leak, increasing the risk of a fire. The recalls so far affect certain Porsche Macan, Audi Q5, Audi Q7, and VW Touareg SUVs sold over the last decade.

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Approximately 35,300 model-year 2004 Mazda RX-8 sports cars are being recalled for a faulty ball joint socket, and approximately 69,400 model-year 2004-08 RX-8s are being recalled for a fuel pump pipe issue. For the recall involving the ball joint socket, the socket on the front suspension lower control arm may crack, and the ball joint may separate from the socket, which could cause a loss of steering control and increasing the risk of a crash.

For the recall involving the fuel pump pipe, heat from the engine and exhaust may cause the main fuel pump pipe to crack, which may cause fuel to leak, increasing the risk of a fire. Dealers will replace the front lower control arms and fuel pump filter kit, respectively, for free.

Mazda will begin notifying owners about both recalls on July 30. In the meantime, you can call the automaker at 800-853-1403, you can check the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or visit SaferCar.gov to check their vehicle identification number for more information.

BMW has announced a recall of 8,700 older model vehicles because the rear driveshaft constant velocity (CV) joint may fatigue and break. BMW will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the rear driveshaft CV joint and, based on its production date, will replace it, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on March 27, 2017. Owners may contact BMW customer service at 1-800-525-7417. The following vehicles are affected:

  • BMW 1 Series M 2011-2012
  • BMW 1351 2011-2012
  • BMW 335D 2011
  • 335I 2011
  • 535I 2011
  • 5351 Grand Torino 2011
  • 550I Grand Torino 2011
  • 740I 2012
  • 740LI 2012
  • Z4 2011

General Motors is recalling 107,000 older sports cars worldwide because a faulty sensor can disable the front passenger airbag.

Affected are:

  • 2006 to 2010 Pontiac Solstice
  • 2007 to 2010 Saturn Sky

GM says a sensor that determines if a child is sitting in the passenger seat can bend and become damaged over time. That can open an electrical circuit, causing the car to turn off the airbag. The company says it unaware of any crashes or injuries caused by the problem. The two-seat cars are no longer made and both brands have been scrapped by the company.

GM says a repair hasn't been determined. Owners may contact Pontiac customer service at 1-800-762-2737 or Saturn customer service at 1-800-553-6000. GM's number for this recall is 17036.

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