Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Atlee Hall’s First Backpack Donation Event a Success!

On August 8, 2014, the law firm of Atlee Hall, LLP teamed up with Dougherty Office Supply and the law firm of Gibbel, Kraybill & Hess to take part in something truly inspiring: the 2014 Backpack Program. The program is designed to help children who cannot otherwise afford it start school with a brand new backpack filled with essential school supplies. The event was held at Atlee Hall’s new office building located at 415 North Duke Street in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Employees and their children gathered in the conference room to pack each backpack with everything a child could possibly need on his or her first day of school including notebooks, pencils, erasers, crayons, markers, paper, glue sticks, tissues, pencil boxes, scissors, and rulers. Once the backpacks were filled, they were sent to the School District of Lancaster so that they could be distributed to local homeless children in need for the upcoming school year. Approximately 100 packed backpacks were donated in total.

Overall, the backpack donation event was a huge success and will almost certainly become a yearly tradition. The hope is to increase awareness and support of this great cause, thereby increasing the amount of backpacks donated each year. For more information about the Backpack Program, please visit Atlee Hall’s website www.atleehall.com.

As a way to continue supporting these children in need, Atlee Hall is planning another event to take place this fall. The plan is to collect children’s scarves, hats, and gloves to be donated to homeless children in the area. Stay tuned for more details on this event and ways to become involved.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Help for Search for Correct Child Seat Size

        NHTSA launches car seat search tool. The Chicago Tribune (9/20, 2.26M) reports on National Seat Check Saturday, today, which “aims to curb” the “preventable deaths” that come from improper installation of child safety seats. NHTSA figures show that “over 33 percent of children killed in 2012 were not properly buckled in,” but correctly buckling in a child in the appropriate car seat “can reduce the risk of serious and fatal injuries by over 70 percent for infants and 45 percent for grade school children.”
        Cars (9/20, 380K) reports, NHTSA “just launched its Car Seat Fin,” which is a search tool “that makes selecting the correct car-seat style a lot easier.”

Chrysler Recalls Vehicles for Faulty Fuel Pump Circuit

Chrysler recalls Dodge, Jeep vehicles. The CBS Evening News (9/20, story 6, 0:25, Axelrod, 5.08M) broadcast that Chrysler issued a recall for “189,000 Dodge Durangos and Jeep Grand Cherokees, model years 2011” due to a faulty “fuel pump circuit that’s part of the main power module.”

        The AP (9/21, Krisher) reports, the fuel pump problem “can cause the SUVs to stall.” The Center for Auto Safety believes, furthermore, that Chrysler’s recall “is inadequate because more than 5 million other Chrysler vechiles have the same fuel pump power control module as the Grand Cherokee and the Durango.” The Center even “filed a petition” with NHTSA last month asking the agency “to investigate power system failures in Chrysler vehicles that could cause them to stall while being driven.” 

GM Recalls Cadillacs for Parking Brake Problems

GM recalls more than 200,000 more vehicles.

The CBS Evening News (9/20, story 7, 0:15, Axelrod, 5.08M) broadcast that GM is “recalling more than 200,000 cars because of problems with the parking brakes.” This “recall affects the 2013-2014 Cadillac XTS and 2014-15 Chevrolet Impala,” the broadcast added.
        The New York Times (9/21, Kessler, Subscription Publication, 9.9M) reports, NHTSA documents read that the GM vehicles’ problem relates to a build-up of “excessive brake heat that may result in a fire,” a reference to the brakes’ making “significant heat, smoke and sparks.” NHTSA further wrote that some drivers may experience problems in these vehicles that present as “poor vehicle acceleration, undesired deceleration, excessive brake heat and premature wear to some brake components.”
        Bloomberg News (9/20, Singh, 1.94M) reports GM’s “callback” is “expected to begin this month,” with the automaker providing free brake software upgrades.

        CNN’s Money (9/20) reported online that GM is not publicly “aware of any crashes, injuries or fatalities,” but this recall is “the latest in a brutal year for the automaker, which has issued more than 65 separate recalls affecting nearly 30 million vehicles.” 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

NHTSA hit for failing to hone in on GM ignition failures.

Bloomberg News (9/17, Plungis, 1.94M) reports that according to a report from a House Energy and Commerce Committee panel, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration “didn’t recognize a pattern of air bag failures in General Motors Co. (GM) cars that would later be linked to flawed ignition switch design.” The report found that the NHTSA “failed to act on multiple police reports dating back to 2007 that inquired about a link between faulty ignition switches, which led cars to stall, and air bags that didn’t deploy.”
        On its front page, the New York Times (9/17, A1, Stout, Kessler, Subscription Publication, 9.9M) reports that at a Senate hearing on the subject on Tuesday, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) said that the NHTSA is “more interested in singing ‘Kumbaya’ with the manufacturers than being a cop on the beat.” In response, NHTSA head David Friedman “sought to turn blame for mounting safety problems back at G.M., which he said had illegally withheld critical information from the agency.”
        In an editorial, USA Today (9/17, 5.6M) says that the NHTSA “had chance after chance to spot the defect and push General Motors to recall its deadly cars.” Instead, the agency “wagged its tail and meekly rolled over — and not for the first time.” It has “repeatedly failed to spot defects, pursue investigations forcefully or use its powers to get defective cars off the road.”
        In an op-ed for USA Today (9/17, Friedman, 5.6M), NHTSA head David Friedman writes that his group “aggressively investigates and pursues recalls to protect the American public.” Regarding the GM issue, he writes that the NHTSA “looked into this problem twice in the years leading up to the recall. At that time, the data did not support a recall. In fact, the number of related complaints were going down, not up, when we reviewed the case.” He goes on to blame GM for hiding the problem, and says that his group has now reformed its procedures to deal with such situations more effectively in the future. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Takata Air Bag Recall Could Dwarf GM and Toyota Recalls

When over 10 million Toyota vehicles were recalled between 2009 and 2011 for problems related to “unintended acceleration” it created quite the media storm. The nature of the recalls, along with a tragic 911 recording of pedal entrapment (followed by high-profile government hearings) had a negative short-term impact on Toyota’s reputation. Then, beginning in February of 2014, a series of recalls related to GM ignition switches in several million vehicles created a similar media frenzy, though the damage to GM’s reputation appears somewhat muted by comparison.

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