Tuesday, December 28, 2010

IIHS Top Safety Picks 2011

As per the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Institute rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor based on performance in high-speed front and side crash tests, a rollover test, plus evaluations of seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts. To earn Top Safety Pick for 2011 a vehicle must have good ratings in all four Institute tests. In addition, the winning vehicles must offer electronic stability control.
(However, don't compare ratings across vehicle size groups because size and weight influence occupant protection in serious crashes. Larger, heavier vehicles generally afford more protection than smaller, lighter ones. Top Safety Picks are the best vehicle choices for safety within size categories, but this doesn't mean a small car that's a Top Safety Pick affords more protection than a bigger car that doesn't earn the award.)Top Safety Picks 2011 are 2011 models, unless otherwise noted.LARGE CARS Buick LaCrosse Buick Regal BMW 5 series (except 4-wheel drive and V8) Cadillac CTS sedan Ford Taurus Hyundai Genesis Infiniti M37/M56 (except M56x 4-wheel drive) Lincoln MKS Mercedes E class coupe Mercedes E class sedan Toyota Avalon Volvo S80SMALL CARS Chevrolet Cruze Honda Civic 4-door models (except Si) with optional ESC Kia Forte sedan Kia Soul Mitsubishi Lancer sedan (except 4-wheel drive) Nissan Cube Scion tC Scion xB Subaru Impreza (except WRX): sedan wagon Toyota Corolla Volkswagen Golf 4-door models Volkswagen GTI 4-door models MINICARS Ford Fiesta built after July 2010: sedan hatchbackMIDSIZE CARS Audi A3 Audi A4 sedan Chevrolet Malibu Chrysler 200 4-door models Dodge Avenger Ford Fusion Hyundai Sonata Kia Optima Lincoln MKZ Mercedes C class Subaru Legacy Subaru Outback Volkswagen Jetta sedan Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen Volvo C30MINIVAN Toyota SiennaLARGE SUV Volkswagen TouaregMIDSIZE SUVs Audi Q5 Cadillac SRX Chevrolet Equinox Dodge Journey Ford Explorer Ford Flex GMC Terrain Hyundai Santa Fe Jeep Grand Cherokee Kia Sorento built after March 2010 Lexus RX Lincoln MKT Mercedes GLK Subaru Tribeca Toyota Highlander Toyota Venza Volvo XC60 Volvo XC90SMALL SUVs Honda Element Hyundai Tucson Jeep Patriot with optional side torso airbags Kia Sportage Subaru Forester Volkswagen Tiguan
For more detail on these vehicles, Click here for the December, 2010, IIHS Status Report.

GM Recalls Cadillac CTS for Airbag Defects

GM recalls 100,000 vehicles over crash-safety concerns.
The AP (12/27) reported General Motors is recalling nearly 100,000 vehicles to address issues related to crash safety. Postings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said GM was recalling nearly 96,000 2005 to 2007 models of the Cadillac CTS for airbag defects. GM said "repeated flexing of the sensing mat in the passenger seat can cause the mat to bend or fold so much that the sensor may not detect a passenger is sitting in the seat. Therefore, the sensor wouldn't activate the airbag in the event of a crash." The automaker also recalled about 1,300 2011 models of the Chevrolet Avalanche 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, Cadillac Escalade, and Silverado 1500 for rear axle defects that can cause unexpected crashes.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


I wish you a warm and peaceful Holiday season. All the best in 2011 and for years to come!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Toyota will pay $32.4M to settle Federal safety probe

Toyota will pay $32.4M to settle Federal safety probe.
The AP (12/20, Thomas) reported the Department of Transportation said $32.4 million in civil penalties "will settle investigations into how Toyota dealt with recalls over accelerator pedals that could get trapped in floor mats, and steering relay rods that could break and lead to drivers losing control." The AP adds "the latest settlement, on top of a $16.4 million fine Toyota paid earlier in a related investigation, brings the total penalties levied on the company to $48.8 million." Toyota still "faces dozens of lawsuits from families of people killed or injured in crashes linked to unintended acceleration." The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration "has received about 3,000 reports of sudden acceleration incidents involving Toyota vehicles during the past decade, including 93 deaths."
Bloomberg News (12/21, McPherson, Kitamura) reports, "The settlements concern the timeliness of recalls conducted by the company in 2005 to fix steering relay rods and to assess pedals that may have become trapped by floormats from 2007 to early 2010, Toyota said in the statement. The payments follow an earlier $16.4 million US fine in May for failing to alert auto-safety regulators quickly enough about vehicle defects."
Reuters (12/20, Crawley) added, Toyota agreed to the fines issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration but did not admit to violating US law.
The Wall Street Journal (12/21, Mitchell) reports to date, Toyota will have paid a sum total of $49 million to the government for violations related to the recall of millions of vehicles.
The USA Today (12/20) "Drive On" blog reported Toyota quality control chief Steve St. Angelo said "All 30,000 of our US team members, and the tens of thousands of Americans at dealers and suppliers across the country, have worked very hard over the past year to put these issues behind us and set a new standard of responsiveness to our customers."
CNN (12/21) reports, In November, "Toyota announced a 'limited service campaign' to fix cooling pumps on 378,000 Toyota Prius hybrid cars in North America. And a federal judge in California tentatively ruled that dozens of Toyota vehicle owners who filed a class-action lawsuit against the automaker over alleged mechanical defects can proceed with their case. The lawsuit is the first major US civil action against Toyota since the automaker recalled millions of vehicles stemming from 'sudden unexpected acceleration' and brake defects." The New York Times (12/21, Bunkley) reports Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement, "I am pleased that Toyota agreed to pay the maximum possible penalty and I expect Toyota to work cooperatively in the future to ensure consumers' safety."

Monday, December 20, 2010



Honda Recalls SUV Models for Faulty Brackets

Honda recalls SUV models for faulty brackets.
The AP (12/19) reported the recall of 35,000 Honda Passport SUV's "to inspect brackets on the rear suspension that could detach and lead to a crash." The Friday recall includes models built between 1998 and 2002 "and is limited to 21 states and the District of Columbia where road salt is used during the winter." A Honda spokesman reported "33 complaints from owners but not injuries."

Friday, December 17, 2010

Chrysler recalling Minivans for Airbags that should not deploy, and VW recalling cars for fuel leaks

Chrysler, Volkswagen recalling hundreds of thousands of vehicles.
The AP (12/16) reported, "Chrysler is recalling more than 367,000 minivans to address potential accidental air bag deployments." Commenting on the issue that "affects 2008 model year Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans," Chrysler said, "water could leak near the heating and air conditioner drain. That could cause the air bag warning light to go off and deploy the air bag by accident." Meanwhile, "Volkswagen is recalling more than 228,000 vehicles to address potential fuel leaks." The "recall affects 2007-2009 model year Golf, Jetta, Jetta Sportwagen, Rabbit and 2006-2010 New Beetle small cars. VW says a small plastic tab in the windshield wiper fluid reservoir could rub against a fuel supply line under the hood. A fuel leak could develop and lead to fires."

Ford Windstar Axle Corrosion Recall

Ford Windstar Axle Corrosion Recall. Was it timely or just a business decision? How many are still on the road?

When the Office of Defects Investigation finally opened a Preliminary Evaluation into rear axle failure in Windstar minivans, Ford Motor Company argued that the problem was no big deal. The fractures only struck a handful of vans in the Salt-Belt states. The vans were older and had significant mileage. The components had performed well, considering. Besides, Ford said, an axle failure while the vehicle was in motion would not result in a catastrophic crash:
“The preponderance of real world data suggests the vehicle remains controllable even in the event of a complete rear axle fracture. The vast majority (95%) of reports received by Ford alleging a cracked or completely fractured rear axle do not indicate any concern for loss of vehicle control. Additionally, some customers note that there was indication of an unusual symptom, such as changes in vehicle ride or noise while driving, for days or weeks before the axle fractured,” Ford wrote to ODI in July.
“Ford recognizes fracture of the rear axle results in significant customer dissatisfaction as the repair cost can be high, and customers whose vehicles require a rear axle repair are understandably agitated at the prospect of paying hundreds of dollars in replacement expenses. However, years of real world data on vehicles that have been in service for up to 12 years clearly supports a conclusion that a fracture of the rear axle in the subject vehicles is not expected to result in a loss of vehicle control, and the likelihood of a related accident or injury is extremely low. In fact, over three-quarters (80%) of the reports received by Ford are simply requests for financial assistance with the repair.”
Then, on October 15, the unexpected happened. Sean Bowman, a 28-year-old Coast Guard veteran and father of two young daughters died, when the rear axle of his 2001 Windstar suddenly failed and his vehicle crashed into a building in Whitman, Massachusetts. Bowman’s passenger was seriously injured and remains hospitalized.
By this time, the complaints were in the hundreds and the vehicle had been recalled. But, Ford had been so unprepared to deal with the issue that unremedied Windstars were piling up on dealership lots awaiting new axles that had not been put in the pipeline. The recall remedy rate was 13 percent. The Bowmans received their recall notice three days after the crash and six weeks after the campaign had been announced.
The chronology of the identification and remedy of this defect suggests a failure that is much greater than the axles. Sean Bowman’s widow, Justine, was so upset by the sheer sluggishness of the entire enterprise, that the family took the extraordinary step of reaching out to the media raise the problem’s profile.
“We did not hear about the recall until after the accident,” Justine said. “We started doing research and when we saw that NHTSA issued a statement there were 575,000 recalled and only 75,000 had been brought in, we knew that people don’t understand how serious this really is. So, I took steps to get the word out there: it has killed someone.”
The Bowman family issued a press release to warn Windstar owners of the dangers, and the story was picked up by a number of news outlets. The agency didn’t open an investigation into Windstar axle failures until May 13, about a week after New York Times’ Wheels columnist Chris Jensen wrote a piece entitled: Ford Windstar Axles Bring Hundreds of Complaints, but No Inquiry. By May 5, the agency had more than 200 complaints of rear axle failures, but had not opened a Preliminary Evaluation. The article rebuked DOT Secretary Ray LaHood for assuring Congress during the Toyota hearings that NHTSA carefully reviews every consumer complaint. A comment from John Arout, a Staten Island Windstar owner who experienced an axle failure on his 2001 Windstar this year, provided the kicker:
“I don’t know what N.H.T.S.A. he is talking about.” Arout said.
Ford’s July 20 response to the agency took the tack that the problem wasn’t that bad. In specific cases in which a failure and a crash were alleged, Ford maintained it knew little about the incident and therefore couldn’t comment on it.
(Much of Ford’s public response has not been posted by the agency, so a view of what was turning up in its internal database was not possible by press time. Manufacturers generally receive 10 complaints to every one received by NHTSA.)
During the three-month probe, the Vehicle Testing and Research Center ran a field test simulating an axle failure at 35 mph. The Windstar lost one rear wheel entirely and experienced severe two-wheel tip-up. If the test van hadn’t been equipped with outriggers, it would have suffered a rollover.On July 27, the VTRC presented its findings to the Ford Safety Office – perhaps in response to Ford’s contention that all of the complaints were merely disgruntled owners seeking recompense for an expensive repair and to answers such as: “The vast majority (95%) of reports received by Ford alleging a cracked or completely fractured rear axle do not indicate any concern for loss of vehicle control.” Or, perhaps, because under the TREAD Act, automakers are only obligated to provide recall remedies free of charge for vehicles and components for up to 10 years old. Some models in the potential recall population, by statute, did not have to be remedied. This may diminish NHTSA’s authority, but there is ample precedent in which automakers have recalled their products outside of the recall statute.
The agency presentation counted 473 VOQs on rear axle failures; 6 alleged crashes; 1 rollover; 2 alleged injuries; and numerous loss of control incidents.
In August, with a total of 891 complaints, Ford threw in the towel and announced a recall. The campaign covered 462,750 minivans from the 1998-2003 model years.
Ford’s initial communications with its customers, however, belied the severe consequences of an axle failure while underway, as depicted in the test video. In an October Owner Notification letter, the automaker described the problem thus:
“On your vehicle, the rear axle could potentially fracture when operated in high corrosion areas (where salt is used on the roadways during winter months) for an extended period of time. If the rear axle should completely fracture, vehicle handling may be affected which could increase the risk of a crash.”
It also suggested that the problem was not widespread: “We believe the vast majority of vehicles will not have cracked axles and can be reinforced when parts are available.”
The company, however, did not have the repair kits available. And by the fall, Windstars with broken axles were piling up at dealership lots awaiting the replacement parts. With the new axles not due in until the spring, Ford was providing Windstar owners with rental vehicles at $38 a day. In October, as an interim measure, Ford announced that it would buy back some older models.
With replacement axles still months away from availability, a fairly low repair rate and the potential for catastrophe, the agency kicked up the pressure. In mid-November, it issued a Consumer Advisory urging Windstar owners to take their vehicles in to be inspected for signs of rear axle corrosion immediately. But the agency didn’t use the most persuasive evidence – its test video.
“Owners that have not yet had the inspection are advised to watch for potential warning signs of a cracked rear axle. Those include: top of the rear tires tilted inward (negative camber); excessive bouncing while driving; banging sound while driving over bumps; vehicle rear-end ‘fishtails.’” The agency said.
On November 30, Ford announced that it was expanding the recall to 37,000 more Windstars, in Utah and all 2003 models.
Justine Bowman feels an urgency that – until very recently – has been MIA at Ford. Had the crash happened a few hours later, her daughters, Lilly, 4, and Hope, 7, would have been in the van with their father.
“I don’t want everyone else to go through all the pain we are going through,” she said. “It’s devastating to them. They’re so little and their father’s gone. I could have lost my whole family. Someone else could lose their whole family. That’s scary and it doesn’t need to happen.”
In the meantime, ODI has another open PE on corroding Windstars. This investigation centers on corrosion of the front-sub-frame, which can fail while the vehicle is in motion. The agency had received 87 complaints from owners of 1999-2003 models, many of whom lived in Salt-Belt states and alleged that “the corrosion would occur on the right side, where the lower control arm is attached to the sub-frame, resulting in a loss-of-control or run-off-the-road crash.” Some drivers also complained that the failure occurred while the car was in motion; and many complained that the axle would break without warning.
Ford’s response to these sub-frame complaints was much like its response to the cracking axles. The automaker said, again, that the complaints were coming from Salt-Belt states and that Ford had “found a low rate of reports alleging corrosion-related cracking or fracture of the front subframe on the subject vehicles. The rate is particularly low when considering the age of the vehicles (some have been in service for up to 12 years) and the tens of billions of miles they have accumulated.”
At the agency’s request, Ford had analyzed the Windstar’s controllability at various speeds, using different vehicle maneuvers, such as turning. Its tests found that moderate breaking improved controllability. It also found that the vehicle remains controllable in static and low-speed situations where the sub-frame breaks.
Ford summed its findings:
“Vehicle testing simulating a separation of the rear attachment of the lower control arm from the front sub-frame has shown that with moderate brake application the vehicle can be steered and safely stopped. Vehicle testing simulating a fracture of the front subframe in the area of the rear body mount has shown that the vehicle remains completely controllable. Years of real world data, including only two accident allegations pertaining to the lower control arm and only one accident allegation pertaining to the engine cradle, in combination with the very low rate of reports demonstrate that corrosion-related fracture of the front subframe does not pose an unreasonable risk to safety.”
That investigation remains open.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

'Perseverance' Derek Redmond

Toyota Recalling Sienna Minivans to Replace a Brake Bracket

Toyota recalling 94,000 Sienna minivans over brake lamp issue.
AFP (12/14) reports, "Toyota on Monday recalled some 94,000 of its 2011 Sienna minivans in the United States to replace a brake bracket that could get stuck. Citing a light problem that could cause unwanted brake activation, Toyota announced it was just the latest in a series of recalls."
The AP (12/14, Thomas) reports the company explained that "a driver's foot could hit the switch bracket and deform it while applying the parking brake pedal." The AP notes, "The switch bracket is welded on to the left side of the brake pedal assembly. The brake lamp provides a signal to indicate that the brake pedal has been depressed and illuminates the brake lights."
The USA Today (12/13, Meier) "Drive On" blog said, "Depending on the amount of damage, the brake lights could stay on or the brakes could stay partially engaged, resulting in brake drag that would increase wear and may produce 'brake noise, brake vibration, and/or illumination of the brake warning light. If this condition is not noticed and the vehicle continues to be driven, braking effectiveness could be reduced,' says Toyota."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento recalls

Hyundai, Kia recall models to repair rear brakes.The Wall Street Journal (12/12, Welsh) reported Hyundai Motor Corporation and its Kia subsidiary recalled some of its 2011 models to address braking glitches. The rear brake calipers in Hyundai's Santa Fe model and Kia's Sorento risk leaking brake fluid, which could result in the loss of brake functionality. Nearly 1,783 Santa Fe models and 7,697 Sorentos are affected.

Drug Safety--Thelin (sitaxentan)

Pfizer recalls blood pressure drug due to liver damage.
The AP (12/10, Seaman) reported, "Pfizer Inc. said Friday it is pulling its blood pressure drug Thelin (sitaxsentan) off the market and stopping all clinical trials because the drug can cause fatal liver damage." Thelin "is sold in the European Union, Canada, and Australia as an oral treatment for severe pulmonary arterial hypertension, or high blood pressure in the pulmonary artery." Pfizer said "liver damage was a known side effect of Thelin and similar drugs...but the review uncovered a link to liver damage that was not tied to identifiable risk factors." In addition to the recall, the company "has withdrawn its filing for marketing in the United States."
According to the New York Times (12/10, Wilson) "Prescriptions" blog, Pfizer is halting "clinical trials it was conducting in a years-long quest to gain approval in the United States." The Food and Drug Administration "has rejected applications to market the drug in the United States at least three times in recent years, out of concern that the risks outweighed the drug's effectiveness -- concerns apparently validated by Pfizer's announcement."

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Volvo Recalls 2009-2011 S40, S60 Sedans and XC60 for Seat Installation Flaws

Volvo recalls 7,420 vehicles to repair seat installation flaw.
The Wall Street Journal (12/6, Welsh) reported Volvo is recalling its S40 and S60 sedans and V50 station wagons from 2009 through 2011, as well as its XC60 crossovers from 2010 and 2011 to address passenger seat installation errors. According to Volvo, the improper installment of the seat's front rails may enable the seat to move farther ahead then intended, increasing the likelihood of injury during a crash. The recall involves 7,420 cars.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Patient Safety at Hospitals Still Lacking

Study finds hospital safety still lacking.
In a front-page study, the New York Times (11/25, A1 Grady) reported efforts "to make hospitals safer for patients are falling short, researchers report in the first large study in a decade to analyze harm from medical care and to track it over time." The study, "conducted from 2002 to 2007 in 10 North Carolina hospitals, found that harm to patients was common and that the number of incidents did not decrease over time. The most common problems were complications from procedures or drugs and hospital-acquired infections." The study, which is "being published on Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine," is "one of the most rigorous efforts to collect data about patient safety since a landmark report in 1999 found that medical mistakes caused as many as 98,000 deaths and more than one million injuries a year in the United States."
Bloomberg News (11/29, Olmos) reports the study found "almost one in five hospital patients was injured by their care," and researchers "found little improvement from industry and government efforts to improve safety." The "six-year study of 2,341 hospital admissions in North Carolina found that 18 percent of patients suffered at least one safety-related incident, ranging from minor injuries with little harm to life-threatening mistakes and fourteen deaths." The North Carolina hospitals "were chosen because the state is considered a leader in efforts to improve patient safety."
The Boston Globe (11/29, Cooney) reports Dr. Christopher Landrigan, "a patient safety researcher at both Children's Hospital Boston and Brigham and Women's Hospital, led a team that studied a sample of more than 2,300 patient admissions to 10 hospitals in North Carolina between 2002 and 2007." They "picked the state because of its active role in safety training programs. To see if those efforts were paying off, they used a tool designed by the Cambridge-based Institute for Healthcare Improvement to detect cases in which care went wrong." Overall, "there were 588 instances of harm suffered by nearly 1 in 5 patients admitted to all 10 hospitals." Modern Healthcare (11/29) reports "the rate of harm -- 25 instances per 100 hospital admissions -- did not change significantly during the study's five-year span from 2002 to 2007, they said. And of the instances of patient harm they detected, 50 were life-threatening and 14 patient deaths were attributable to medical errors."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Volvo recalls 2010 XC60

Volvo recalls models over airbag errors, fire-prone navigation units.
Cars.com writer Colin Bird reported in the Chicago Tribune (11/22) that "Volvo is recalling the 2010 XC60 over airbag concerns." According to Bird, "58 XC60s are being recalled for side curtain airbags that may have been misassembled. The error may cause the airbags not to deploy correctly or possibly not at all, which could increase the risk of injury in a crash." The automaker also issued a separate recall for several models containing faulty Garmin 760 GPS units, "which can potentially overheat, possibly causing a fire in the car."

Friday, November 19, 2010

Depuy Orthopedics ASR Hip Implant Recall

In 2005, DePuy, a division of Johnson & Johnson, introduced the ASR and ASR XL hip replacement systems in the US after winning “510(k) clearance” from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This type of clearance meant that the product was approved without having to pass clinical trials to ensure it was safe. In 2008, The British equivalent to the FDA recognized “evidence of genetic damage in patients with certain metal hip implants,” such as the ASR system. Also in 2008, the FDA received higher than expected complaints from patients who received ASR hips. In 2009, DePuy voluntarily withdrew the ASR system from the Australian market due to higher than expected failure rates. In early 2010, DePuy notified physicians that the ASR system would be phased out by the end of the year. It was not until August 24, 2010, that DePuy recalled the ASR hip replacement system in the US and worldwide.
DePuy Orthopedics, Inc., and Johnson & Johnson are working hard to control the problems created by the DePuy ASR hip prosthesis. Part of this effort includes using physicians to ask patients to sign waivers and authorizations allowing DePuy access to patient records. DePuy is using Broadspire to manage this process. While DePuy promises to cover certain medical expenses associated with revision surgery, there remain a number of important concerns patients should have regarding this process. First, when a patient signs the waivers and authorizations, the manufacturer is given access to private medical information. Second, once the manufacturer gets copies of private medical records and the parts of the prosthesis removed during revision surgery, the manufacturer may not preserve that information properly. Third, while the manufacturer has promised to pay certain costs, the manufacturer is not volunteering to compensate for harm suffered as a result of the defective prosthesis. To be fully compensated for all of the injuries caused by the defective prosthesis, a patient may need to sue the manufacturer.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Automotive News Email Blast for Subscribers, November 18 2010

Automotive News Email Blast for Subscribers, November 18 2010

Window Shades and Blinds Recalled amid Safety Review

WASHINGTON — The death of a toddler who strangled in a window shade cord spurred a huge recall Wednesday, even as the industry crafts a better standard to make window coverings in American homes safer for children.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission says Hanover Direct, of Weehawken, N.J., has agreed to recall about 495,000 roman shades and some 28,500 blinds. Hanover is the parent company for Domestications, The Company Store, and Company Kids.
CPSC says the 22-month-old boy in Cedar Falls, Iowa, became trapped in the pull cord of a roman shade in May. He was found hanging by his neck and was rescued by his father, but died later at a hospital.
The commission estimates that one child dies every month after strangling on the cords of blinds or roman shades.
Consumer safety groups have complained that the government and industry have been slow over the last two decades to cut child deaths from blinds. More recently, however, CPSC has stepped up its efforts to get safer window coverings on the market.
At a meeting of industry officials and consumer advocates at CPSC headquarters in Bethesda, Md., this week, the head of the commission urged manufacturers to move swiftly to approve new safety rules.
"Chart a new course today," said Chairman Inez Tenenbaum, "a course that promises to eliminate, not just mitigate, the risk of harm to children."
While there have been millions of blinds and shades recalled in the past several years, safety advocates say fatality rates haven't improved much and the process for moving safer designs to the market has been sluggish.
The problem is the cord on the blinds and shades that rolls them up and down. Young children can get tangled and trapped in the cords, leading to injuries and deaths. Since 1990, CPSC estimates that nearly 250 infants and young children have died from accidentally strangling on window cords.
Ralph Vasami, executive director of the Window Covering Manufacturers Association, says blinds and shades can be used by most people with no problem at all. "But there is a hidden risk to children," he said in an interview.
Vasami says manufacturers are pressing ahead to revise the current voluntary safety rules on the books, standards developed by industry. He expects to have new rules ready for a vote by next October.
Current standards for roman shades, Vasami says, call for them to be cordless; have cords that are inaccessible to children; or if the cord is in reach of a child, then it cannot be able to form a hazardous loop that could trap a child's head. That standard would likely serve as a model and be expanded to cover blinds in the new writing of standards underway.
Wednesday's recall involving Hanover is an expansion of a previous recall from October 2009 of about 90,000 roman shades. Thousands more roman shades as well as roller and roll-up blinds are now being called back. The products were sold through the company nationwide from January 1996 through October 2009.
Consumers can contact the firm at 800-453-1106 or http://www.domestications.com and http://www.hanoverdirect.com for more information.

GM recalls Buick Lucerne and Cadillac DTS after fire reports

GM recalls 13,780 vehicles after fire reports; Chrysler recalls 16,000 Jeep Libertys
DETROIT -- General Motors Co. is recalling 13,780 Buick Lucerne and Cadillac DTS cars in the United States because of a flaw that can cause power-steering fluid to leak and ignite a fire in the engine.
Chrysler, meanwhile, said it plans to recall 16,000 Jeep Liberty SUVs to fix faulty windshield wiper systems, according to The Associated Press.
The company is targeting model year 2010 and 2011 Lucerne and DTS vehicles following reports of two fires related to electrical arcing triggered by leaking fluid coming into contact with the starter or alternator cable, according to a letter on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Web site today.
No injuries were reported in the fires, Alan Adler, a spokesman for Detroit-based GM, said in an interview.
The automaker concluded the starter and alternator cables were incorrectly installed so they touch a power-steering line, it said in the letter to NHTSA, the U.S. auto-safety regulator.
GM will repair the cars, which are under warranty, free of charge to owners. The recall totals 14,245 cars worldwide, GM said in a statement on its Web site.
The company this year has recalled 1.53 million cars and trucks for a windshield-wiper flaw that may cause fires, and 303,100 Impala cars in the U.S. because seat belts in the front seat may not be properly anchored and may fail to restrain passengers in a crash.
Wiper problems
In the Chrysler recall, the automaker said the wiper problem involves certain 2008 Jeep Liberty SUVs, the AP said. Chrysler said water could get into the windshield wiper motor of the Jeeps and stop the wipers.
Chrysler said no crashes or injuries have been tied to the recalls, the AP reported.
Jeep dealers will replace the windshield wiper motor free of charge, according to the report, and the recall is expected to begin this month.

Ford Winstar Minivans Need to be Fixed

NHTSA: only fraction of recalled minivans repaired.
The AP (11/17) reported, "The government is urging owners of recalled Ford Motor Co. minivans to get their vehicles fixed." According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "only about 75,000 of the minivans had been fixed by the recall, leaving a large number of vehicles still to be repaired." Concerns "that the rear axles could corrode and potentially break" prompted the August recall of nearly 575,000Ford Windstar models.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Study Shows one in Seven Medicare Patients Harmed by Medical Error

Study: one in seven hospitalized Medicare patients harmed.
The New York Times (11/16, B3, Wilson) reports, "One of every seven Medicare beneficiaries who is hospitalized is harmed as a result of problems with the medical care there, according to a new study from the Office of Inspector General for" HHS, which also "said unexpected adverse events added at least $4.4 billion a year to government health costs and contributed to the deaths of about 180,000 patients a year." In response to the findings, "Dr. Carolyn M. Clancy, director of the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, said the adverse events were affecting hospital patients at an 'alarming rate' and promised to work to improve it." And, "Dr. Donald M. Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said it would aggressively pursue recommendations to broaden the definition of adverse events, monitor and prevent them."
USA Today (11/16, Rubin) reports, "The study is the first of its kind aimed at understanding 'adverse events' in hospitals -- essentially, any medical care that causes harm to a patient, according to the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General." Notably, "patients in the study, a nationally representative sample that focused on 780 Medicare patients discharged from hospitals in October 2008, suffered such problems as bed sores, infections and excessive bleeding from blood-thinning drugs, the report found."

Monday, November 8, 2010


Jaime D. Jackson recently settled a case against Keeway Motor America, Inc. involving their importation and sale in the United States of what Plaintiff alleged was a defective 250 cc Keeway Dorado motorcycle that had been manufactured by a Chinese manufacturer in China.

Plaintiff was driving her recently purchased Keeway Dorado motorcycle when the front end of the motorcycle began to wobble resulting in her exiting the roadway and crashing. After extensive investigation, it was learned that the upper and lower steering races in the steering assembly were missing some ball bearings in the steering races. This was an assembly defect that occurred at the manufacturing facility in China. The proper number of ball bearings in the steering races is critical to the safety and steering of the motorcycle.

Unfortunately, numerous plaintiffs, as was the case here, are unable to obtain proper jurisdiction over Chinese manufacturers in the United States, because China is not a party to the Hague Convention. However, in this litigation, we came up with creative theories of liability against the importer of the defective motorcycle including citing to regulations promulgated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that view the importer of motor vehicles (which include motorcycles) as the manufacturer of the product with an obligation to make sure that the product is free from defects and safe for its intended use before being sold in the United States.

It is unfair that injured Americans sometimes may not be able to sue a manufacturer of unsafe products because of arcane laws, however, with these new theories of liability and creative litigation strategies developed by Jaime Jackson other responsible entities such as importers and dealers can be held accountable for selling unsafe products and victims of these unsafe products can obtain justice and be properly compensated for the harm caused by these unsafe products.

Depuy Orthopedics ASR Hip Implant Recall

Depuy Orthopedics recently recalled 93,000 ASR hip implants. Finally, after they, stopped selling this hip implant in other countries outside the United States.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Seatbelt Load Limiters: A Dangerous Safety Defect

A load limiting device or torsion bar (hereinafter simply referred to as “load limiter”) were introduced originally by some manufacturers in the early eighties in conjunction with vehicles equipped with airbags. The theory or justification behind such devices are that they are intended to reduce belt induced injuries such as rib fractures by allowing forward movement of occupant’s torso when belt loads exceed some threshold. The release of the webbing allows an occupant to move forward until the occupant’s forward motion is finally arrested by the deployment of the frontal airbag. In theory, this design concept may work; if an occupant were to be involved in a 35 mph NCAP full frontal barrier crash test where the torsion bar releases webbing and the airbag deploys arresting the forward movement of the occupant. In virtually all other crash scenarios, i.e. rollover, offset frontals, frontal impacts where the airbag fails to deploy or any impact where airbags do not deploy, this design is extremely dangerous because it introduces slack into the seatbelt system; thereby failing to restrain the occupant and may permit the occupant to be ejected, or slam into the interior of the vehicle despite the fact that the occupant did exactly what they were supposed to in properly wearing their seatbelt.
In any crash scenario where an occupant was belted, but sustained significant injury, one place to look is whether or not the seatbelt retractor was equipped with a load limiting-type device. As mentioned, common scenarios include rollovers and offset frontal collisions where an occupant may miss the airbag because of the PDOF, or the airbag fails to deploy; since load limiters are designed to work in conjunction with an airbag.
[1] One of the original attempts at purported load limiting was sewing the seatbelt over itself or sewing a fold into the seatbelt webbing, more appropriately called rip stitching. The rip stitching would then pull apart when loaded introducing slack into the seatbelt system. Rip stitching, because it was such a dumb idea, for the most part went away and was replaced by a device referred to as a torsion bar built into the seatbelt retractor. The torsion bar is a metal rod that will twist when sufficient force is applied. The torsion bar will twist under load allowing seatbelt webbing to be released from the retractor thereby introducing slack into the system. The subject of this paper and presentation focuses on the deadly, deceitful and dangerous defect-torsion bars.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Toyota secretly bought cars to hide problems from public

Toyota secretly bought problem cars, lawsuit says
Toyota Motor Corp. secretly bought back from U.S. consumers vehicles it found with speed-control defects as part of a strategy to hide unintended-acceleration problems from safety regulators and the public, a revised lawsuit claims. The repurchase transactions included strict confidentiality agreements barring consumers from disclosing the problem to anyone and from suing the automaker, according to the amended class-action complaint.
This story should not require registration.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

BMW recalls fuel pumps

BMW recalls 150,000 vehicles in North America due to fuel pump issues.
CNNMoney (10/27, Smith) reports, "BMW of North America announced a recall Tuesday of more than 150,000 vehicles because of potential problems with their fuel pumps." The ABC News (10/26, Cuomo et al.) "TheLaw" blog noted BMW made the voluntary move "just hours after ABC News aired a report on its investigation into potential problems concerning the fuel pumps in such vehicles."
The Cars.com (10/26, Thomas) "Kicking Tires" blog reported, "BMW has just issued a recall of 130,000 cars featuring its twin-turbo six-cylinder engine because of a faulty fuel pump that can fail when the cars are driving at high speeds. The company and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received complaints about the cars going into a reduced-power or 'limp home' mode, which allows drivers to safely pull off the road."

Friday, October 1, 2010

Patient Lawsuits helping doctors learn from mistakes

In case you missed it, today’s Wall Street Journal explores how medical negligence claims help physicians avoid diagnostic delays and mistakes, improving patient safety.

According to the article, “Medical professionals are finding lessons in these and other past malpractice cases. By analyzing the breakdowns in care that led to missed, delayed or incorrect diagnoses, insurers and health-care providers are developing programs to avert mistakes. . . . Diagnostic errors are the leading cause of malpractice suits, accounting for as many as 40% of cases and costing insurers an average of $300,000 per case to settle, studies of resolved claims show. Peter Pronovost, a patient-safety researcher at Johns Hopkins University, estimates that diagnostic errors kill 40,000 to 80,000 hospitalized patients annually, based on autopsy studies over the past four decades.”

While opponents of health care reform were fixated on taking away the rights of patients (which would produce practically no savings), they clearly avoided discussing the merits of our current civil justice system: providing recourse to those injured by medical errors and improving the overall quality of America’s health care system.

SEPTEMBER 28, 2010What the Doctor Missed
Using Malpractice Claims to Help Physicians Avoid Diagnostic Mistakes, Delays By LAURA LANDROhttp://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703694204575517834198205438.html?mod=googlenews_wsj#articleTabs%3Darticle

A doctor assumes a patient's recurrent cough is a respiratory infection and doesn't order a chest X-ray, missing a deadly lung cancer. A 40-year-old woman dies of a rare blood disease after her abnormal lab test falls through the cracks. A man dies from an obstructed bowel after different doctors treating him fail to share information about his acute abdominal pain.

Medical professionals are finding lessons in these and other past malpractice cases. By analyzing the breakdowns in care that led to missed, delayed or incorrect diagnoses, insurers and health-care providers are developing programs to avert mistakes. For example, some doctors are using electronic alerts and reminders to order tests, follow up on lab reports and close the loop with specialists to whom they refer patients.

Diagnostic errors are the leading cause of malpractice suits, accounting for as many as 40% of cases and costing insurers an average of $300,000 per case to settle, studies of resolved claims show. Peter Pronovost, a patient-safety researcher at Johns Hopkins University, estimates that diagnostic errors kill 40,000 to 80,000 hospitalized patients annually, based on autopsy studies over the past four decades.

Studies of malpractice-claims data show that diagnostic errors often don't have a single cause. There are often at least three breakdowns that lead to missed or delayed diagnoses. Patients play a role as well: They may not seek care on a timely basis, fail to show up for tests or fail to follow instructions, such as not fasting before a blood test or not adequately emptying the bowels before a colonoscopy.

One concern is that using claims data to educate doctors will lead to more "defensive medicine," in which doctors order more tests and procedures than needed to protect themselves against malpractice suits. In a study in the June Archives of Internal Medicine, 91% of physicians surveyed reported that doctors practice defensive medicine; the majority of physicians also agreed that legal protections against unwarranted malpractice suits are needed to decrease the unnecessary use of diagnostic tests.

"Medicine is often a crapshoot and an odds game," and doctors can miss a diagnosis even if they adhere to guidelines on when to order a test, says Dr. Pronovost. Reducing diagnostic errors, he says, will require a focus on larger system failures, such as preventing lab results from getting lost and developing checklists to help doctors distinguish between, say, a "low-risk" headache and a "high-risk" headache.

Diagnostic mistakes most often involve cancer, with breast cancer the most commonly missed or delayed diagnosis. Last year, a jury awarded $2.5 million in a case brought by Barbara Glasow, who, before she died in May 2009, sued St. Luke's Hospital in Bethlehem, Pa., claiming the hospital and one of its doctors failed to diagnose her breast cancer in May 2004, when she came to see him for a lump on her chest. According to the suit, the doctor told her it was a cyst. By February 2005, it had broken in two and began to bleed. A biopsy determined that it was breast cancer. Her attorney, Steven Margolis, is pursuing the award, plus interest, totaling $2.9 million on behalf of her family. St. Luke's is appealing the case, and the hospital declined to comment.

Oakland, Calif.-based managed-care giant Kaiser Permanente also uses malpractice-claims data for educational purposes. But it relies on close tracking and follow-up of patients with abnormal test results to avoid missed diagnoses, says breast cancer surgeon Susan Kutner. Over the past 15 years it has identified 420,000 abnormal biopsies and 320,000 abnormal mammograms. As a result, 450 patients were found to have a new or recurrent cancer or an abnormal biopsy "who would not have been found if we did not bring them in proactively," Dr. Kutner says.

The Veterans Health Administration is developing programs to help doctors more closely follow up on abnormal lab results, which it delivers through an electronic medical record system. VA studies show that doctors are often overwhelmed by alerts and may not follow up, even when an alert says the test is abnormal. Hardeep Singh, chief of the health quality and policy program at the Houston VA research center, says its studies also show that if both a primary-care doctor and a specialist get test results, each assumes the other will follow up.

"Patients may think that if something was wrong, my doctor would have told me," says Dr. Singh. "But no news is not necessarily good news, and patients need to be empowered to follow up on their lab results and participate more actively in their care."

While malpractice claims represent only a fraction of all medical cases, "they are reflective of deeply rooted problems that are much more widespread in health care," says Robert Hanscom, vice president of loss prevention and patient safety for Crico/RMF, a malpractice insurer that covers Harvard University-affiliated hospitals and doctors. Mr. Hanscom says cases linked to diagnostic errors appear to be on the rise as primary care doctors, struggling with heavy case loads, take shortcuts or don't act on their patient's symptoms. Also hospitals are concerned about trial lawyers who may seek high monetary damages.

Of 1,137 malpractice cases between 2005 and 2009, diagnostic errors accounted for 26% of Crico/RMF's claims. But among the 456 "high severity" cases that resulted in serious patient harm or death, nearly half were diagnostic errors.

"People may show up with a series of symptoms or complaints that aren't taken seriously at the moment, or a physician…doesn't see the complaint as something new to be concerned about," says Ann Louise Puopolo, a nurse and patient-safety program director at Crico/RMF. For example, in missed or delayed colorectal cancer cases, patients often showed up with some kind of rectal bleeding, a usual sign that further testing is needed, but was not performed, says Ms. Puopolo.

Crico/RMF is offering continuing medical-education credits to doctors who study its analysis of the closed malpractice cases. And in a program it is co-sponsoring at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, researchers are working with 16 primary-care practices in Massachusetts, using lessons from the claims to help them avoid common pitfalls like failing to consider that a patient with persistent symptoms might need a diagnostic test, and failing to follow up on abnormal test results when they come in.

"These errors may be less visible and dramatic than getting the wrong leg cut off, but a delay in diagnosis can adversely affect a patient's long-term outcome," says Gordon Schiff, associate director of patient-safety research at Brigham and Women's. Malpractice cases "let us drill down and learn deeper lessons, like what could have been done differently," Dr. Schiff says.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dangerous Truck Drivers

This is the type of activity that needs to be stopped, before these dangerous truck drivers and companies who let them drive truck, when they shouldnot be kill more people.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Trailer Sway

Trailer sway, commonly known as “fishtailing,” in the side-to-side movement of an RV or Cargo trailer as an automobile is pulling it. This movement can easily cause the tow vehicle to become unstable and roll over causing a roadway tragedy.
Each year many American families hit the roads to go camping. Nationwide, there may be as many as 3 million RV enthusiasts, including renters, and by 2010 the number of RV-owning households is estimated to rise to nearly 8 million. These figures do not include cargo trailers for rent such as “U Hauls.” The phenomenon of trailer sway can occur when the tow vehicle/trailer combination is being passed by a tractor-trailer, hit by a sudden wind gust, or when the driver is forced to make an evasive maneuver. One of the biggest problems facing RV users is that no one actually advises them about the hazards of trailer sway or how they should react if they encounter it. Despite the RV industry’s knowledge about the dangers of trailer sway, the industry has done virtually nothing to warn consumers or to take measures to protect consumers from the danger. This is partly due to the fact that RV manufacturers are not actually required to test the real world performance of their products, and therefore do not.
In 1964, the federal government commissioned a study of single vehicle accidents on Route 66 and concluded that vehicles pulling trailers were substantially more likely to be involved in an accident. A more recent analysis of federal crash data shows that vehicles pulling trailers are more than twice as likely to experience a loss of control and crash than vehicles that are not pulling trailers. Because vehicles towing trailers usually have more occupants, more people are exposed to the dangers of trailer sway and the risk of injury and death. Each year, about 283 people are serious injured and 121 are killed.
Although the industry does not promote them, there are fairly inexpensive methods to prevent trailer sway. The two most common are (1) hitch ball systems where the trailer’s pivot point is at the hitch and (2) axle-type systems that put the trailer’s pivot point closer to the rear axle of the tow vehicle.
One type of sway control system is the hitch ball system. This system uses a “friction sway control device.” As the name implies, a friction sway control device relies on friction to resist the pivotal movement of the trailer on the hitch ball. These devices have been on the market for over 40 years with little change in design. Moreover, these devices are cheap, easy for dealers to sell, and simple to install and detach.
The second type of sway control system is the superior axle-type system. In contrast to the hitch ball systems, axle systems are designed to move the pivot point from the hitch ball forward, closer to the rear axle of the tow vehicle. By moving the pivot point closer to the rear axle, an axle-type system dramatically reduces the side forces the trailer exerts on the tow vehicle. The practical effect of the axle system is twofold: First, because the forces on the two vehicles are much lower, trailer sway is much less likely to ever become a problem. Second, once the trailer does being to sway, an axle system has a much higher “damping” effect, w hereby the sway is quickly eliminated. For almost all commonly used RV configurations, the axle-type system is dramatically more effective than the hitch ball system in preventing trailer sway related accidents.
As the number of RV sales increase year by year, there are even larger numbers of consumers pulling large trailers who are unaware of the lurking danger of trailer sway. Unless manufacturers begin to warn consumers about these risks, and provide information about the effectiveness – or relative ineffectiveness – of anti-sway devices, the number of trailer sway related accidents are certain to increase each year.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

How Civil Justice System has Spurred Automotive Safety

Driven to Safety:
How Litigation Spurred Auto Safety Innovations
April 2010
Gas Tanks
Side Impact Design
Seat Belts
Roof Crush
Electronic Stability Control
Door Latches
Illusory Park
Air Bags
Power Windows
Timeline of Key Automobile Litigation
Table of Contents
In the wake of Toyota’s sudden acceleration scandal, automobile safety is once again a hot-button issue. After internal
documents showed Toyota knew about potential defects, hid them from regulators, and even bragged about saving money
from limiting its recalls, Toyota received the largest fi ne ever levied against an auto manufacturer.
After 50 deaths and 8.5 million recalled cars, this saga is yet another example of regulation as an incomplete safeguard and
manufacturers that put profi ts over safety. Unfortunately, this scenario has been repeating itself for decades.
In 1964 in Michigan, David Larsen was driving a Chevy Corvair when he was involved in a head-on collision. The Corvair’s
steering mechanism was thrust backwards, ramming the steering wheel into Larsen’s head. A court would hear that the
Corvair’s steering mechanism consisted of a solid shaft that began less than three inches from the front of the car’s tires. The
unabsorbed forces of a head-on crash were transmitted directly towards the driver’s head. 1
Up until the 1960s, car manufacturers were only held liable for defects in construction that resulted in accidents and had
largely avoided responsibility for defects in design.2 Even when a design defect caused a car to burst into fl ames, manufacturers
succeeded in persuading courts that “no duty exists to make an automobile fi reproof.”3
Manufacturers had a large body of knowledge proving that car design – particularly in regard to steering columns, dashboards,
windshields and passenger restraints – was extremely unsafe to car occupants, but did nothing about it. Style was
valued over safety. The cost of largely unnecessary styling changes amounted to, at the time, $700 per car, yet the average
safety expenditure amounted to just 23 cents.4 For instance, many manufacturers used chrome enamel dashboards for their
aesthetic value, despite evidence that the dashboards commonly refl ected sunlight into drivers’ eyes and blinded them.
In the 1960s, court cases began highlighting the dangers of car design and the willful negligence of manufacturers in
designing cars that they knew to be unsafe.5 The Larsen case became a landmark decision. General Motors claimed they
had no duty to design an automobile that would protect the occupant if an accident occurred. The court disagreed and thus
sent a message that car manufacturers had to change their ways.6
Since then the civil justice system has worked hand-in-hand with regulation to protect Americans, while spurring generations
of safety innovations.
Litigation will ultimately play a key role in identifying what went wrong with Toyota. These fi ndings will aid regulators and
legislators in protecting the American public in the future. By holding manufacturers accountable, the civil justice system
will continue to spur safety innovations, as it has done for half a century.
Gas Tanks
Barely a decade after Larsen, litigation over the Ford Pinto sent another message to the automobile industry. The Pinto
became notorious after court cases highlighted a faulty design that left the gas tank unprotected and resulted in explosion,
even in minor rear-end accidents. Internal documents revealed Ford knew of the problem and could fi x it for as little as $11
per car, but calculated that it would be more profi table to sell the car as-is and let injuries occur. In Grimshaw v. Ford Motor
Company (1981), a California appeals court awarded $125 million in punitive damages (later reduced) to the victims of a
Pinto explosion.
The Pinto’s design met all government standards of the time. Had compliance with federal standards been a complete
defense, as many auto industry lobbyists have proposed over the years, Ford could not have been held responsible for the
many burn victims that the company itself anticipated. As it was, the litigation spurred the adoption of requirements for fuel
tank performance in rear-end collisions that had not been in place before. 7
Other similar cases, such as the General Motors “side saddle” gas tank and the Chevy Malibu, highlighted the dangers of
defective gas tank design. In the case of the Malibu, Chevy spurned fi xing the problem for just $8.40 per car because it
calculated that paying an anticipated 500 victims of fatal accidents would cost only $2.40 per car – in other words it would
be cheaper to let people burn than to fi x the problem. As a result of such cases, gas tanks are now universally located
within cars’ rigid frames. According to Logan Robinson, a University of Detroit law professor and former general counsel for
Chrysler, litigation caused manufacturers to redesign the placement of gas tanks, and “now, most all cars are designed to
take at least a 50-mph hit.”8
Side Impact Design
In 1974, Richard Dawson, a police offi cer with the Pennsauken Police Department in New Jersey, lost control of his Dodge
Monaco while driving to respond to a burglar alarm. The side of the car struck an unyielding steel pole. Though eyewitnesses
reported the car hit the pole at less than 26 miles per hour, the pole ripped through the car and crushed Dawson. He
was left quadriplegic with no control of his body from the neck down and in need of constant medical care.
During the ensuing court case, Dawson’s attorneys argued that the vehicle design was defective because it was unable to
withstand side impacts at even relatively low speeds. The vehicle had a non-continuous frame, and between its front and
rear frame portions was a 17-inch gap. Evidence showed the steel pole slid along the car body until it reached the gap, and
then tore through the vehicle, smashing Dawson. Had the vehicle had a full continuous frame, it would have protected the
car from being cut in half by the pole.
Chrysler argued that it had no duty to produce a “crashproof” vehicle, and furthermore, had met all existing regulatory
standards. They also pointed out that a full continuous frame would add $300 to the price of the vehicle.
The court disagreed and held Chrysler responsible for the defective design. Car manufacturers now routinely build cars with
stiff , strong unibody designs that off er more protection to occupants in a crash.9
Seat Belts
In 1996, Bart Moran’s 1997 Dodge Minivan was involved in a low-speed rollover in Corpus Christi, Texas. Moran’s seat belt
unlatched and he was thrown from the van, suff ering a broken neck and massive head injuries. He died the next day, leaving
behind a wife and 8-month-old daughter. Court cases highlighting the dangers of cars with inferior or no seat belts spurred
major safety improvements, with both seat belts and seat backs redesigned in response to litigation.
One example was the Gen 3 seat belt installed in more than 14 million DaimlerChrysler
cars and minivans, including the one Bart Moran was driving. The Gen 3 had a button
that protruded over the button cover, allowing it to be accidentally depressed by a
fl ailing arm or loose object. At least 15 deaths and 18 serious injuries were caused by
its malfunction. Even after Chrysler’s engineers identifi ed the problem and recommended
a newer, safer seat belt, the car manufacturer continued to use the Gen 3 in many models,
often in the back seat.
In 2000, Bart Moran’s widow Yvonne won a $6.7 million court award from DaimlerChrysler
and the seatbelt manufacturer, which helped force the car company to install safer seat belts
throughout all its cars.10 Other cases highlighted auto manufacturers’ failure to install rear seat belts. Car companies had
installed rear three-point seat belts in the cars they manufactured for foreign markets, but domestically they stuck to lap
seat belts in order to save $12 per car. Again, while regulators refused to investigate or institute rules regarding rear seat
belts, car manufacturers did begin installing three-point rear seat belts after being held accountable in court.11
Roof Crush
On September 11, 1997, Penny Shipler, a 29-year-old single mother from Nebraska, was seriously injured after the Chevy
Blazer she was riding in was involved in a rollover accident. The roof of the Blazer collapsed more than eight inches, crushing
her spine and paralyzing her from the neck down.12
As far back as the 1960s, car manufacturers knew that the roof strength of their cars was inadequate. After one case, in
which a passenger was crushed when the roof of their Buick collapsed, the court held that “it is the obligation of automobile
manufacturers to provide more than a movable platform capable of transporting passengers from one point to another.”13
In 1971, the National Highway Safety Bureau (the precursor to the National Highway Traffi c Safety Administration) began to
develop its fi rst safety standards regulating roof strength to ensure vehicles could withstand pressure on their roofs when
involved in a rollover accident. The automobile industry lobbied the agency to signifi cantly weaken the new roof crush test.
They were motivated by the fact that they knew the roof strength of their cars was already a major safety issue. In the case
of General Motors, fi ve out of six car models failed their internal crash tests, a fact the manufacturer covered up for more
than 30 years. Manufacturers opposed increasing roof strength standards for the next three decades, not only because they
knew many current cars would fail crash tests, but also because they did not want the added cost of stronger roofs in future
productions. Meanwhile, the death toll from rollovers reached an estimated 7,000 per year.14
For Shipler, General Motors’ refusal to accept responsibility meant she and her young son were forced to live on $800 a
A comparison of the Gen 2 and
Gen 3 seat belt buttons. The Gen
3 had a button that protruded
from the cover.
month in Social Security and food stamps, while her medical bills accumulated into the millions. In 2006, nine years after
her accident, a court awarded her $18.6 million, one of the largest court judgments linking vehicle roof strength to severe
injuries in rollovers.
NHTSA recently approved a vastly strengthened rule, which will go into eff ect in 2012. As Shipler herself said, “I hope my
case will be a reason for GM to improve the roofs of these vehicles so what happened to me doesn’t continue to happen.”
On a beautiful Saturday in March 2000, Donna Bailey, a 43-year-old mother of two, traveled with two friends to a climbing
expedition in Texas in a Ford Explorer equipped with Firestone tires. One of the tires suddenly separated, and the
Explorer skidded and rolled. Despite wearing her seatbelt, Bailey was left paralyzed from the neck down.15
Defective Firestone tires on Ford Explorers took the lives of at least 271 people and seriously injured many more before the
companies issued the largest tire recall in history. Internal company documents would later show that the two corporations
had known of the deadly tire separation and associated rollover problems for years. Firestone knew as early as 1997
that there were serious problems with its tires. Vehicle owners began sending complaints of tire failures at a rate 100 times
greater than normal. Firestone employees would later state that they punctured bubbles in tires to conceal fl aws and that
inspection of fi nished tires was nonexistent.
After a series of lawsuits highlighted the issue, the National Highway Traffi c Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an
investigation into the tread separations. In August 2000, Firestone recalled 6.5 million tires.
The Ford/Firestone case is only the latest and most recognizable instance of a manufacturer knowingly producing defective
tires. Michelin, Cooper and other manufacturers have manufactured unsafe tires and taken corrective actions as a result of
litigation. Even Firestone had tried to get away with production of defective tires before its most recent troubles. In 1971, the
company debuted the Firestone 500 radial, which was prone to suff er tread separation at high speeds. By 1973, Firestone
engineers had identifi ed the problem and the dangers associated with it; however, the company continued to sell what
would turn out to be nearly 24 million tires, insisting that there were no defects. At one point Firestone recorded that over
10 percent of tires were suff ering separation. Litigation on behalf of victims injured after tire separations began to mount. By
1978, the company was forced to admit it faced more than 250 lawsuits, and the company agreed to recall the tires.16
Electronic Stability Control
Electronic stability control (ESC) was a safety innovation prompted in part by litigation surrounding the increasingly popular,
but inherently unstable SUVs.17 As SUVs became popular, their lack of stability became more apparent, their design made
them more prone to roll over than regular cars.
Certain models, such as the Ford Bronco II and its successor, the Explorer, were particularly unstable. In 1989, one year before
the release of the Explorer, Ford executives tried to stop a Consumer Reports article critical of the Bronco II. Jerry Sloane of
Ford’s public aff airs offi ce wrote in one internal memo, “We think going in we were in deep trouble regarding our rollover
rates... Our rollover rate is three times higher than the Chevy S-10 Blazer... [T]he [Fatal Accident Reporting Service (FARS) ]
data put us in a bad light... We think, however, that we have clouded their minds.”18
One result of the Ford/Firestone and other SUV litigation was an increased emphasis on the development of electronic stability
control. ESC incorporates yaw (rotation around the vertical axis) control into anti-lock braking systems. When a driver
loses control, ESC applies brakes to each wheel individually to correct skids and bring the car back under control.19
Door Latches
In 2001, Deborah Seliner was driving her 1997 Ford pickup along a Texas highway when a rear tire blew, forcing her off the
road and causing the truck to rollover. Seliner was wearing a seat belt but was ejected from the truck because the driver’s
side door came open. She was paralyzed from the chest down and confi ned to a wheelchair for life.20
Ford’s problem with doors unexpectedly opening had been happening since at least 1997. By 2000, Ford had traced the
problem to defective springs in its “paddle-style” door handles, aff ecting more than four million vehicles. On March 6,
2000, Ford’s own engineers recommended the cars be recalled and the door latches redesigned. The recommendation
was passed onto Ford’s Field Review Committee, the executive body that ordered recalls. The committee agreed with the
engineers and plans for a recall were made. Then a few days later, the recall was cancelled. Instead, Ford found an alternative
and little-used crash test that it knew the handles would likely pass.21
Inevitably, people like Deborah Seliner were injured when the doors opened during accidents. As a result of litigation on
behalf of victims, car manufacturers began using recessed door handles that were less likely to cause an unintended door
Ford’s strategy mirrored that of other automobile manufacturers in the past. Between 1978 and 1987, GM produced cars with
so-called “Type 3” door handles. GM’s own engineers recommended recalling the cars to fi x the doors, but with 30 million
aff ected cars on the road and an estimated cost of nearly $1 billion, GM decided to leave them as they were and instead
secretly settle cases for as long as possible until the statute of limitations ran out. Hundreds of people were killed, until a
$150 million verdict in Georgia in 1996 highlighted the problem to the public and regulators.23
Illusory Park
Kim Golden parked her 1997 Dodge Caravan and got out to speak with a friend, leaving her 4-year-old daughter in the car.
Moments later the van began to roll away with her daughter inside. Golden chased after the van and grabbed a door in an
eff ort to stop it. She was knocked down and crushed under a wheel. She died, fi ve months pregnant with twins.24
In the 1970s and 80s, Chrysler and Ford produced cars with defective transmission designs. This defect produced an “illusory
park” position, giving the driver the impression that the car was secured when in fact it was not. Vibration or slamming of
a car door could cause the car’s transmission to slip out of the “park” position and into reverse gear. At least 90 injuries and
deaths were reported as a result of this defect.
A “smoking gun” interoffi ce memo discovered during litigation established that Ford engineers had been aware of the “illusory
park” problem since 1971 but had taken no action to correct it. The jury found the transmission design defective and,
critically, that Ford had failed to give drivers adequate warnings of the problem. Ford fi nally eliminated the “illusory park”
position hazard after it lost two lawsuits fi led by people injured as a result of the design. 25
However, the same problem reappeared in the 1990s. Reports began to circulate about rollaway problems with Chrysler’s
Minivans and Dodge Dakotas after the vehicles would appear to slip from the park position. For years, Chrysler denied there
was a problem and then blamed it on driver error.
Privately, they knew the problem could be fi xed but decided not to take action. In 1994, Chrysler safety managers urgently
recommended installing brake shift interlock – a system that requires drivers to depress the brake pedal in order to shift out
of park – in its minivans. Chrysler executives rejected the recommendation, saying if they installed it on the minivans, they
would have to install it on all Chrysler cars, which would be too expensive. The cost was estimated at $9 per car.26
Eventually in 2000, ten years after their fi rst production, Chrysler recalled more than 150,000 Dodge Dakotas. As of 2001,
Chrysler installed brake shift interlock on all its minivans.
Just months later, NHTSA began investigating another Chrysler car, the Jeep Cherokee, which had the same transmission
as the Dakota, after a series of lawsuits were fi led on behalf of victims. Over 700 alleged incidences of unintended shifting
were reported. Again, Chrysler blamed driver error until one of its engineers admitted in depositions that it was possible to
place the gear shifter so it appeared to be in park but was not actually secure. A door slamming or an air conditioner turning
on could be enough to shift the car into gear. NHTSA investigators were able to duplicate the problem, and Chrysler fi nally
relented and recalled 1.6 million Jeeps.27
Air Bags
In 1991, Rebecca Tebbetts, a 19-year-old college student from New Hampshire, was killed after her 1988 Ford Escort slipped
down an embankment and hit a tree. The car was not equipped with an air bag. Tebbetts’ mother fi led a lawsuit against
Ford, one of more than 100 alleging that automakers knew that the absence of air bags resulted in thousands of unnecessary
deaths every year.28
Automobile manufacturers have been developing air bag technology since at least the 1950s and testing it in cars since at
least the late 1960s.29 General Motors was even off ering air bags as an option on certain model cars by the mid-1970s.30 Yet
by 1988, only two percent of new cars were equipped with air bags.31
Though the auto industry was aware of the safety benefi ts of air bags, it was remarkably slow in marketing the technology.
General Motors, for instance, stopped its air bag development though it had once been a leader in air bag research and
previously said it could equip all its cars.32 In comments fi led with NHTSA, GM told the regulator that it planned to abandon
projections on the number of air bag-equipped cars it would manufacture. GM cited NHTSA’s plans to closely monitor “automatic
restraint system malfunctions” saying the company did “not believe that automatic restraint system malfunctions
will be suffi ciently prevalent to warrant such attention.”33 This decision came despite the company’s own market research
on consumer attitudes toward air bags, which showed that as early as 1971, between 40 and 50 percent of customers were
willing to pay extra for air bags.34 The Wall Street Journal even reported that GM refused to promote airbags and, “instead,
the company and its dealers actively discouraged sales.”35
Courts, however, found that the manufacturers knew full well that the absence of air bags made cars less safe, and held
them responsible for the consequences. Manufacturers either lost in court or were forced to settle, and until eventually,
manufacturers began installing air bags as standard.36
Power Windows
In June 2004, a Dallas-area mother stopped her Ford F-150 to talk to her husband through the driver’s side window. Her
3-year-old daughter, Yencey Ayala, leaned out of the passenger’s side window and accidentally hit the rocker switch,
causing the window to close on her neck. Though the girl’s parents noticed moments later, it was too late. The girl died from
As power windows became more common, so too did instances of children being accidentally strangled. In 2004, seven
children died within the space of three months. The safety issue with power windows involved the “rocker” style switch,
which can inadvertently close the windows if a child leans on it. Manufacturers were well aware of the issue, and the fi x was
relatively simple and inexpensive. In response to regulations in other countries, European and Asian cars already used a safer
switch – one that must be pulled upward to raise a window – and so did many American manufacturers on cars they off ered
to foreign markets. Yet incredibly, American manufacturers did not install the safer switches on domestic cars, since NHTSA
had no rules governing power window safety.
At one point a Ford spokesperson defended the manufacturer by saying, “there’s only so much automakers can do to
prevent these tragedies. At some point the parents have a responsibility to make sure children are supervised.”38
In 1996, Kevin Gleason strapped his fi ve-year-old daughter into the back seat of his Buick Century. He then sat in the passenger
seat in front of her. When their car was struck from behind by a pickup going less than 25 miles per hour, Gleason’s
seat collapsed backwards and killed his daughter.39
Safety engineer Mark Pozzi described the design of many seats as “probably among the most egregious, widespread safety
defects to be found.” Both manufacturers and regulators have long known that seats not built to withstand accidents
can cause serious or even fatal injuries for passengers in cars. Engineers have been able to design seats that both provide
protection to the seat occupant and withstand collapsing onto other occupants. GM engineers admitted that seats costing
just $1 more could reduce injury levels by up to 90 percent. Yet because NHTSA regulations do not require such seats, many
manufacturers did not bother installing them. In 1996, for instance, Chrysler Sebrings were produced with seats that could
withstand 3,300 pounds of force, yet the next year the company sold Dodge Rams with seats that could only take 605
pounds of force.
As a result of lawsuits highlighting the issue, seats are engineered to be stronger and with added safety innovations.40
Some would say that automobile safety is the sole responsibility of federal regulators. Others say that not even regulators
should address safety, and instead it should be left to the free market to protect consumers.
In fact, neither regulation nor the market can succeed in protecting Americans alone. The slow-moving nature and political
vulnerability of federal rules, coupled with the revolving door relationship between the car manufacturers and the agencies,
leaves regulation as an incomplete protection. The market, meanwhile, can only dictate safer vehicles if the consumer’s
desire for a safe car is matched by honest information about their relative safety merits, which is not easy to come by when
manufacturers often cover up their vehicle’s defects.
Rather, federal safety standards work in conjunction with the civil justice system as a two-pronged approach to protection,
which in turn spurs safety innovations in the market. Since the 1960s, the civil justice system has worked to make Americans
safer. Design defect litigation has enforced safety standards, revealed previously concealed defects and regulatory weaknesses,
and deterred manufacturers from cutting corners on safety for the sake of greater profi ts.
The civil justice system is already beginning to play a key part in holding Toyota accountable. However, this accountability
will do more than just secure restitution for victims of defective Toyotas. If history is any judge, the litigation will inevitably
force Toyota to fi x the problem in the future. While new laws or regulations may take months or years to enact, highlighting
the problem in the courtroom immediately puts executives on notice that the American people will not accept such negligent
behavior. Time and again, this has forced manufacturers to choose safety innovations over their cost-saving instincts,
and likely will again.
Timeline of Key Automobile Litigation
MacPherson v. Buick Motor Co., 217 N.Y. 382, 111 N.E. 1050, N.Y. 1916.
Donald MacPherson was injured when the wooden spokes of one of the wheels on his 1920 Buick Runabout
crumbled, causing the car to collapse and ejecting him. Judge Benjamin Cardozo, in a ruling that has often been
referred to as the origin of product liability, stated, “If the nature of a thing is such that it is reasonably certain to
place life and limb in peril when negligently made, it is then a thing of danger. Its nature gives warning of the
consequence to be expected. If to the element of danger there is added knowledge that the thing will be used by
persons other than the purchaser, and used without new tests, then, irrespective of contract, the manufacturer of
this thing of danger is under a duty to make it carefully.”
Larsen v. General Motors Corp., 391 F.2d 495, 8th Cir., 1968.
David Larsen was driving a Chevy Corvair when he was involved in a head-on collision that rammed the Corvair’s
steering mechanism into his head. General Motors claimed it had no duty to design an automobile that would protect
the occupant in an accident. In what would become a landmark decision, the court disagreed and thus sent a
message that car manufacturers had to change their ways.
Dyson v. General Motors Corp., 298 F.Supp. 1064, D.C.Pa., 1969.
When a 1965 Buick Elektra rolled over, the right side of its roof collapsed, severely injuring an occupant. The court
held, “[I]t is the obligation of an automobile manufacturer to provide more than merely a movable platform capable
of transporting passengers from one point to another. The passengers must be provided a reasonably safe
container within which to make the journey. The roof is a part of such container....”
Fox v. Ford Motor Co., 575 F.2d 774, C.A.Wyo., 1978.
A Wyoming court held Ford liable for the deaths of two women riding in the back of a Thunderbird during a lowspeed,
head-on collision. The two passengers in the front seats survived. The two women in the rear seats, wives of
the men in front, both died. A court found that the rear seats were improperly designed: the front seats were not
cushioned in anticipation of a rear occupant striking them and the seat belts were not designed to prevent passengers
jackknifi ng forward.
Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Co., 119 Cal.App.3d 757, 174 Cal.Rptr. 348, Cal.App. 4 Dist., 1981.
Punitive damages were awarded against Ford after a court found that the company knew its Ford Pinto was
susceptible to deadly fi res and explosions because of a defective design that left the gas tank exposed in rear-end
Dawson v. Chrysler Corp., 630 F.2d 950, 3d Cir., 1980, cert. denied, 450 U.S. 959, 1981.
Chrysler was held liable after a police offi cer was rendered quadriplegic when his car hit a steel pole side-on and
was ripped in half. The court held that the Chrysler’s divided frame design was defective.
Leichtamer v. American Motors Corp., 67 Ohio St.2d 456, 424 N.E.2d 568, Ohio, 1981.
Punitive damages were awarded against American Motors Corp, after one of its Jeeps, marketed as suitable for off -
road and hilly conditions, rolled over during a low-speed hill descent causing its roll bar to crush the occupants.
Dorsey v. Honda Motor Co. Ltd., 655 F.2d 650, C.A.Fla., 1981.
The fi rst car sold in America by Honda was the diminutive AN 600. Honda marketed it as a low-price, economical car.
Glen Dorsey purchased one in 1972. When involved in a low speed collision, Dorsey was seriously injured and left
with a massive, permanent brain injury. At trial it was revealed that Honda knew the car was extremely vulnerable to
collapsing upon impact, but had decided not to strengthen it for fear of reducing its economical performance.
Hasson v. Ford Motor Co., 32 Cal.3d 388, 650 P.2d 1171, Cal.,1982.
Ford’s 1966 Lincoln Continental had defective brakes, a fact which the company covered up so as not to damage
the Continental’s “service-free” reputation. In 1970, 19-year-old James Hasson suff ered serious injuries, including a
fractured skull and extensive brain damage, when the brakes failed on his Continental. Ford fought the case for he
next 12 years until eventually Hasson was granted compensation.
Seliner v. Ford Motor Co., No. 2002-30454, Tex, Harris County Dist. Ct., 2004.
In 2001, Deborah Seliner’s 1997 Ford pickup blew a tire along a Texas highway and rolled over. Seliner was wearing
a seat belt but was ejected from the truck because the driver’s side door came open. Internal documents from this
and other similar cases revealed that Ford was aware the door handles were defective and were prone to opening
in accidents, but chose to cover up the problem. Seliner was paralyzed from the chest down and confi ned to a
wheelchair for life.
Shipler v. General Motors Corp., 271 Neb. 194, 710 N.W.2d 807, 2006.
Penny Shipler, a 29-year-old single mother from Nebraska, was paralyzed after the roof of the Chevy Blazer she was
riding in collapsed during a rollover accident. In 2006, nine years after her accident, a court awarded her $18.6 million,
one of the largest court judgments linking vehicle roof-strength to severe injuries in rollovers. Shipler said of
the verdict, “I hope my case will be a reason for GM to improve the roofs of these vehicles so what happened to me
doesn’t continue to happen.”
AlliedSignal, Inc. v. Moran, 231 S.W.3d 16, Tex.App.-Corpus Christi, 2007.
In 1996, Bart Moran’s 1997 Dodge Minivan was involved in a low speed rollover in Corpus Christi, Texas. Moran’s seat
belt unlatched and he was thrown from the van, suff ering a broken neck and massive head injuries. He died the
next day, leaving behind a wife and 8-month-old daughter. The court heard that the minivan’s “Gen 3” belt latch was
defective and could unlatch in an accident, a fact that Chrylser’s engineers had already identifi ed.
1 Larsen v. General Motors Corp., 391 F.2d 495 (8th Cir. 1968).
2 Harold A. Katz, Liability of Automobile Manufacturers for Unsafe Design of Passenger Cars, Harvard Law Review,
March 1956.
3 Shumard v. General Motors Corporation, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, 270 F.Supp.
311 (1967).
4 Ralph Nader, Unsafe at any speed, 1965.
5 Steven L. Holley, The Relationship Between Federal Standards and Litigation in the Control of Automobile Design, at
807, New York University Law Review, October 1982.
6 Supra note 4.
7 Supra note 5, at 823.
8 Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Co., 119 Cal.App.3d 757, 174 Cal. Rptr. 348, 1981; Carol J. Williams, Toyota is just the latest automaker
to face auto safety litigation, Los Angeles Times, March 13, 2010, http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi -toyotalitigate14-
2010mar14,0,2005316.story; They Knew and Failed To, American Association for Justice (AAJ), October 2009.
9 Dawson v. Chrysler Corp., 630 F.2d 950 (3d Cir. 1980), cert. denied, 450 U.S. 959 (1981).
10 AlliedSignal, Inc. v. Moran, 231 S.W.3d 16, Tex.App.-Corpus Christi, 2007; Widow Tells Committee How Her Lawsuit
Uncovered Seat Belt Defect, Center for Auto Safety, February 27, 2003, http://www.autosafety.org/widow-tells-committee-
how-her-lawsuit-uncovered-seat-belt-defect; The Moran Case, UnsafeBelts.com, http://www.unsafebelts.com/moran.
11 Wesley J. Smith, Fighting for Public Justice, Trial Lawyers for Public Justice (TLPJ), 2001, discussing Garrett v. Ford Motor
Co., 684 F. Supp. 407 (D.Md. 1987).
12 Shipler v. General Motors Corp., 271 Neb. 194, 710 N.W.2d 807, 2006.
13 Dyson v. General Motors Corp., 298 F.Supp. 1064, E.D.Pa.,1969.
14 Industry Concealment of Tests Undermined Development of Meaningful Rollover Crash Roof Crush Resistance
Standard in 1971, Public Citizen, 2005; Bill Vlasic, Court upholds verdict in roof crush case but GM won’t concede
defeat in $18.6 million jury award to woman paralyzed in 1997 crash, The Detroit News, March 17, 2006.
15 Anita Kumar, Ford quick to settle cases involving tires, St. Petersburg Times, February 3, 2001.
15 Business: Forewarning of Fatal Flaws, Time, June 25, 1979.
17 Toyota is just the latest automaker to face auto safety litigation, Los Angeles Times, March 13, 2010, http://www.latimes.
com/business/la-fi -toyota-litigate14-2010mar14,0,2005316.story.
18 Buell-Wilson v. Ford Motor Co., 141 Cal.App.4th 525, 46 Cal.Rptr.3d 147, Cal.App. 4 Dist., 2006.
19 ESC and how it helps drivers maintain control, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), http://www.iihs.org/ratings/
20 Seliner v. Ford Motor Co., No. 2002-30454, Tex, Harris County Dist. Ct., April 2004.
21 Jeff Plungis, Ford faces more lawsuits on door latch safety issue, Louisville Courier Journal, May 4, 2004.
22 Ralph Blumenthal, In Door Safety Cases, Ford Settles and a Mother Struggles, New York Times, May 4, 2004.
23 Ronald Smothers, Jury’s $150 Million Award Against G.M. Touches Off Furor, New York Times, June 5, 1996.
24 Minivan Danger, PrimeTime, ABC News, May 3, 2008.
25 AP, LA jury says DaimlerChrysler must pay $54 million in truck death, March 9, 2007; They Knew and Failed To, American
Association for Justice (AAJ), October 2009.
26 Supra note 24.
27 Grand Cherokee Probed, CNN Money, July 4, 2001, http://money.cnn.com/2001/07/04/home_auto/cherokee/; Feds
Investigating Jeep Cherokee, ConsumerAff airs.com, August 6, 2001, http://www.consumeraff airs.com/news/jeep_recall.
html; Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Jeep Cherokee Blame Game Heats Up, Los Angeles Times, December 23, 2001; Jeep
Grand Cherokees Recalled, Los Angeles Times, February 15, 2002.
28 David Stout, Air-Bag Ruling in Fatal Crash Could Infl uence Other Cases, New York Times, September 20, 1995; Tebbetts
v. Ford Motor Co., 140 N.H. 203, 665 A.2d 345, N.H.,1995. The United States Supreme Court subsequently turned
down Ford’s appeal, but in 1997, six years after the original accident, Ford succeeding in getting a favorable decision.
Nevertheless, the Tebbetts case, and others like it, had already both highlighted the issue and spurred manufacturers to
adopt airbags more comprehensively.
29 Vehicles May Need Infl atable Air Bags as Safety Feature, Wall Street Journal, July 3, 1969.
30 General Motors Milestones – The First 100 Years, Automobile Magazine, October 2008.
31 Fred Mannering and Cliff ord Winston, Automobile Air Bags in the 1990s: Market Failure or Market Effi ciency? Journal
of Law and Economics, October 1995.
32 Ralph Nader & William Taylor, The Big Boys: Power and Position in American Business, (1986).
33 GM’s Automatic Restraints: Puzzling Pattern, The Highway Loss Reduction Status Report, Insurance Institute for
Highway Safety, March 26, 1980.
34 Id.
35 Congressman Charges Air Bag Data ‘Supressed,’ The Highway Loss Reduction Status Report, Insurance Institute for
Highway Safety, December 21, 1979.
36 Daniel McGinn, Daniel Pederson, A life-or-death choice? (automobile airbags), Newsweek, October 20, 1997; Stephen
Lichtenstein, Airbag products liability litigation, Cleveland State Law Review, 1997; See also Wesley J. Smith, Fighting for
Public Justice, Trial Lawyers for Public Justice (TLPJ), 2001, discussing Burgess v. Ford Motor Co., 1982, in which Ford was
forced to settle a case regarding the lack of air bags on the Ford Pinto for $1.8 million.
37 AP, Tot dies after her neck becomes stuck in car’s power window, June 8, 2004.
38 Greg Schneider, Advocates Say Technology Exists to Prevent Accidents, Washington Post, June 24, 2004.
39 Are car seats safe? CBS News, October 27, 2000.
40 Jeff Plungis, $106 million judgment against Chrysler and new safety studies intensify the debate over federal
standards, Detroit News, April 1, 2005; Seat Failures & Occupant Restraints, SafetyForum.com, http://www.safetyforum.
com/seatfailures/; Nicholas Perrone, Seatback Failures in Rear Impacts Resulting in Continuous Paralyzing Injuries
in Chrysler and GM Vehicles, Center for Auto Safety, http://www.autosafety.org/general-motors-seat-back-collapselitigation-

Friday, April 9, 2010

Navy Seal Hero

I BET YOU DIDN'T SEE THISIN THE NEWSPAPER OR ON THE 6 O'CLOCK NEWS" The Sailor Pictured Below Is, Navy Petty Officer, PO2 (Petty Officer, Second Class) EOD2 (Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Second Class) "MIKE MONSOOR" April 5th, 1981 ~ September 29th, 2009 Mike Monsoor, Was Awarded "The Congressional Medal Of Honor" Last Week, For Giving His Life In Iraq , As He Jumped On, And Covered With His Body, A Live Hand Grenade, Saving The Lives Of A Large Group Of Navy Seals That Was Passing By! During Mike Monsoor's Funeral, At Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery , In San Diego , California, The Six Pallbearers Removed The Rosewood Casket From The Hearse, And Lined Up On Each Side Of Mike Monsoor's Casket, Where His Family Members, Friends, Fellow Sailors, And Well-wishers Were. The Column Of People Continued From The Hearse, All The Way To The Grave Site. What The Group Didn't Know At The Time Was, Every Navy Seal (45 To Be Exact) That Mike Monsoor Saved That Day Were Scattered Through-Out The Column! ~ As The Pallbearers Carried The Rosewood Casket Down The Column Of People To The Grave Site, The Column Would Collapse - Which Formed A Group Of People That Followed Behind. ~Every Time The Rosewood Casket Passed A Navy Seal, He Would Remove His Gold Trident Pin From His Uniform, And Slap It Down Hard, Causing The Gold Trident Pin To Embed Itself Into The Top Of The Wooden Casket! Then The Navy Seal Would Step Back From The Column, And Salute! ~ Now For Those, Who Don't Know What A Trident Pin Is, Here Is The Definition! ~ After One Completes The Basic Navy Seals Program Which Lasts For Three Weeks, And Is Followed By Seal Qualification Training, Which Is 15 More Weeks Of Training, Necessary To Continue Improving Basic Skills And To Learn New Tactics And Techniques, Required For An Assignment To A Navy Seal Platoon. After successful completion, Trainees Are Given Their Naval Enlisted Code, And Are Awarded The Navy Seal Trident Pin. With This Gold Pin They Are Now Officially Navy Seals! It Was Said, That You Could Hear Each Of The 45 Slaps From Across The Cemetery! By The Time The Rosewood Casket Reached The Grave Site, It Looked As Though It Had A Gold Inlay From The 45 Trident Pins That Lined The Top! This Was A Fitting End To An Eternal Send-Off For A Warrior Hero! This Should Be Front-Page News! Instead Of The Garbage We Listen To And See Every Day. ~ Here's A Good Idea! Since The Main Stream Media Won't Make This News. Then We Choose To Make It News By Forwarding It. ~ I Am Proud Of All The Branches Of Our Military. If You Are Proud Too, Please Pass This E-Mail On. ~ If you just delete This E-Mail, Rest Assured That The Fine Men And Women Of Our Military Will Continue To Serve And Protect Your Freedom And Right To Do So! <> "GOD BLESS AND KEEP OUR TROOPS SAFE!