Recall Demanded for Jeep Grand Cherokees

The consumer advocacy group, the Center For Auto Safety is asking for the recall of five million Jeep Grand Cherokees. This is due children dying after rear end collisions.

the center cited the deaths of three children since 2006 in fires that occurred when the Jeeps in which they were riding were struck from the rear.


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Nissan Issues Recalls on Altimas

Nissan has issued a recall of about 123,000 Altimas. The recall affects 2013 models. Apparently, Nissan had a faulty gauge on on an air pump that was either under or over inflating the spare tire causing them to blow out.

According to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Nissan had a faulty inflation gauge on an air pump that was either over-inflating or under-inflating spare tires. Read the Article Here

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3.4 Million Cars Recalled

Toyota, Nissa, Honda and Mazda have issued a recall affected 3.4 Million vehicles. The recall revolves around possible faulty airbags that may cause a fire or inadvertently fire causing personal injuries to the occupants. The large manufacturers rely on smaller companies and manufacturers for their parts.

The recall is the largest ever for airbags made by Takata Corp., the world's second-largest supplier of airbags and seatbelts. Due to a manufacturing defect in the propellant for the inflator, the airbag for the front passenger seat may not inflate correctly. As a result, there is a risk of fires starting or of passengers being injured. The faulty airbags were manufactured between 2000 and 2002 in a Takata factory in Mexico. Read more


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Jury Finds Against Nissan

A NJ jury found in favor of a man who was injured when a tire fell off a truck, hit the roof of his Nissan Altima and caused severe personal injury. The Plaintiff's attorneys argued and provided evidence that the design of the Altima was defective.

"Design engineers know how to design a good roof, it's not really a problem in American-made cars but what we found is it's a problem in these Altimas," she said. Read more


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Faulty Child Locks Leads to Recall

Ford has recalled certain 2013 models due to a potential failure of their child safety locks. The cars involved are Focus, C-Max, and Escape models. The recall includes 5,675 cars - adults may think they child safety lock is engaged, but due to its faulty manufacturing, a child may still be able to open the car door from inside the vehicle.

In a document filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the car maker said the child locks on the left rear door of some vehicles were improperly made. The locks may not engage when drivers or other adults try to activate them. As a result the driver may think the child lock is engaged when it is not. Read more


NHTSA investigates Toyota, Ford and Honda

NHTSA has not issued any recalls but instead has launched an investigation into various models. First off, 561,000 Toyota Prius are under NHTSA investigation. There have been reports that the steering shaft was not assembled correctly. This investigations appears to be focusing on 2004-2009 model years. In 2012, Toyota had the highest number of recalled cars.

In 2012, Toyota had the most vehicles recalled of any brand in the U.S. market, the third time it achieved that dubious distinction in four years. And it has already had 1 million vehicles recalled since the beginning of 2013.

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Chrysler Probe Expands

Two years ago NHTSA launched an investigation into whether an usual number of Chrysler vehicles caught fire after rear end collisions. Originally the focus was on 3 million Jeep Grand Cherokees. Now NHTSA has added an additional 2.1 million Jeep Cherokees and Jeep Liberty SUVs manufactured between 1993 and 2001.

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Lexus Recall

Toyota Motor Corp has issued a recall of certain model year 2013 Lexus G2 350 Sedans. There appears to be a problem with the steering which may lead to a crash.

On the affected vehicles the electronic control unit or ECU that controls the variable gear ratio of the steering system could cause the steering wheel to be off-center. In a document filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration the car maker said the problem can affect the car when it is restarted after being parked with the steering wheel turned.

If this happens the driver may not realize the steering wheel is off-center, and the car may move in an unexpected direction and possibly cause a crash.


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Nissan Issues New Recall

NHTSA has issued a release stating that Nissan is recalling approximately 79,275 model year 2011-2012 Juke, Infiniti QX and Infiniti M vehicles due to a potential fuel leak hazard.


Read the entire notice here.

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Toyo Tire Recall

A safety recall was initiated yesterday involving Toyo Tire produced from Sept 2009 through November 6, 2010. A kink may develop in the bead area potentially resulting in the loss of control of the vehicle posing a large crash risk. Read the NHTSA bulletin here.

Nissan Recall Issued

NHTSA announced that Nissan has issued a recall of certain 2010-2011 Nissan Sentras. According to the release, those vehicles equipped with MR20 engines, "manufactured between May 11, 2010 to May 25, 2010 and July 8, 2010 until October 25, 2010"  are affected. During this time period, a zinc coating  applied to a certain bolt was done so improperly and not to specification thus leading to a possible engine stall or possible damage done to the engine control module. This  poses a crash threat. Read More from  NHTSA

Toyota recall

79 reports dating back to 2007 has prompted Toyota to initiate a recall of 550,00 cars for a steering problem.

The latest recall is due to the possibility that the outer ring of the engine's crankshaft pulley may become misaligned with the inner ring, causing noise or a warning signal to light up, the company's U.S. sales unit said in a press release. If the problem isn't corrected, the belt for the power steering pump may become detached from the pulley, making it suddenly more difficult to turn the steering wheel.

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NHTSA reissues 15 Passenger Van Warning

NHTSA has reissued its warning of 15 passenger vans. The agency has warned against using tires that are old and to ensure that the tires are properly inflated for such a vehicle.

For this reason, NHTSA recommends that spare tires not be used as replacements for worn tires. In fact, many tire manufacturers recommend that tires older than 10 years not be used at all.


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Bad Boy Buggies Recalled

The CPSC announced that approximately 3,200 Bad Boy Buggies were being recalled because the steering arm could break and cause the driver to lose control and consequently posing a significant  crash threat. There have been 15 reported incidents of the assembly breaking. Bad Boy Classic buggies were recalled before in 2009 and 2010. This recall involves

Bad Boy LT, Classic, XT, XTO and XT Safari model electric off-road utility vehicles. The utility vehicles have four wheels, bench seats for the operator and passengers and were sold in camouflage patterns, hunter green, red and black. “Bad Boy” is printed on the side or front of the vehicles. More

These items were sold at Bad Boy Buggy dealers between August 2009 and July 2011.

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Harley Davidson Recall

Harley Davidson is recalling more than 308,000 motorcycles due to a switch problem that can cause the brake lights to fail and possibly the brakes to fail as well.

The company said in documents filed last week with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that brake light switches can be exposed to too much heat from the exhaust system. The heat can cause the brake lights to fail, and the problem also can cause fluid leaks and the loss of rear brakes, the documents said. More


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Design Defect

What really do we mean by design defect? A design defect is an inherent problem with a product’s design that makes it dangerous regardless of its manufacturing quality. A design defect generally exists according to the courts, if either the product is unreasonably dangerous the way it is designed or if the product is not safe for its intended use or its foreseeable uses.

In the law of products liability, a design defect exists when a defect is inherent in the design of the product itself. In a products liability case, a plaintiff can only establish a design defect exists when he proves there is hypothetical alternative design that would be safer that the original design, as economically feasible as the original design, and as practical as the original design, retaining the primary purpose behind the original design despite the changes made. (Cornell Law)


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NHTSA tells Ford to Expand Recall

NHTSA is seeking to have Ford expand its recall of F-150 pickup trucks which reportedly have airbags that may deploy when they are not needed.

The government's auto safety regulator wants Ford to recall more than the 144,000 trucks from model years 2005-06 that it agreed in February to fix.

Wes Sherwood, a Ford spokesman, confirmed the automaker is talking with NHTSA about whether the recall should be expanded. Some of the recalled trucks have air bags that may deploy when not needed, possibly injuring drivers or passengers. (Article)


Ford Recalls Trucks

Ford has recalled about 365,000 F-150 pick up trucks because of an issue with the interior door handles which may lead to the door opening during a crash.

Ford says the recall affects about 280,000 F-150s in the United States for the 2009 and 2010 model years, built from Jan. 18, 2008, through Nov. 30, 2009. The rest were sold in Canada and Mexico. Read More


Car Manufacturers Issue More Recalls

Ford has announced that is it is recalling 400,000 Windstar models in "cold weather" states to resolve a bracket issue which could cause the vehicle to become unstable and the driver lose control.

Ford is recalling more than 400,000 Windstar minivans in cold-weather states to fix brackets and mounts which could separate from the vehicle's subframe and could cause a driver to lose control of the vehicle.

The recall involves 425,288 minivans from the 1999-2003 model years sold or registered in 22 states and the District of Columbia. (article)

Toyota has also issued a recall today involving over 1.7 million cars.

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Chevy Issues Recall

GM announced a recall of over 300,000 Impalas with model years 2009 and 2010 because of a seat belt webbing issue. Essentially these seat belts are defective and may fail to restrain passengers as they should.

the front-seat belt webbing may not be secured properly to a lap belt anchor on the side of the seat near the doors. (story)



Nissan Recall

Last month Nissan recalled approximately 46,000- 51,000 Cubes. They were recalled because during crash tests the amount of fuel that leaked from the rear was more than allowed by Federal Standards.

Nissan is recalling 51,100 of its Cube hatchbacks in the United States and Canada because of possible problems with fuel spilling during rear end collisions.

In documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Nissan Motor Co. said Monday tests conducted by NHTSA safety regulators found more fuel spilled than federal standards allow. The spillage occurred during rear end crash tests at 50 miles per hour where the vehicle also spun onto its side. Read Article


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Toyota Steering Issue

Toyota has now issued yet another recall of over 400,000 Avalon and and 39,000 Lexus LX470 vehicles. Why?

The Japanese automaker announced the latest Toyota recall Thursday, after receiving reports of at least three automobile accidents involving Toyota Avalons.

Toyota is recalling 373,000 Avalons from the 2000 to 2004 model years in the U.S. due to defective steering lock bars, which could break under certain conditions.

The Lexus LX470 recall affects 39,000 vehicles, due to potentially defective construction of the luxury SUV’s steering shaft, which could cause it to disengage if the vehicle experiences an unusually severe impact to the front wheels.. Read more


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$1.85M Verdict Against Nissan Stands

In 2007 a lawsuit was filed against Nissan deeming the Pathfinder in the matter not crashworthy. What does that mean when a car is considered not crashworthy? It is simple - the car was unable to protect its occupants in a foreseaable collision. In this instance, the lawsuit claimed the Pathfinder

was missing safety design features that Nissan was well aware of at the time, such as airbags and other advanced safety restraint features.

The complaint also argued that Nissan knew the Pathfinder was unreasonably dangerous and defective, because the vehicle had poor crash test performances, real world incidents and a high death rate.


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And even more Toyota news...

Toyota said on Friday that it was planning to recall approximately 138,000 Lexus vehicles due to faulty engine issues.

The company said flaws in valve springs, a crucial engine component, could make the vehicle stall while in motion. Toyota said in a statement that it plans to file paperwork with the U.S. government on the recall next week. Washington Post


Toyotal recalls continue...

Toyota is recalling 17,000 model year 2010 Lexus HS sedans because of a problem with its fuel tank. This new recall has prompted the company to once again suspend the sales of such vehicles.

The defect was noticed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) under a crash test. The NHTSA has found that the fuel tanks in the vehicles leak when struck from behind at 50 miles per hour. (DailyMarkets)

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This Week is the 2010 National Tire Safety Week

What better time to discuss tire related issues then during the 2010 National Tire Safety Week going on this week from June 6th – June 12th by the Rubber Manufacturing Association.

The leading cause of tire failure is improper inflation, especially under-inflation. Tires that are under inflated experience excessive flexing which generates excessive heat and causes the tire to expand. This build of pressure can cause a tire blowout, where the tire rapidly comes apart.

On May 20th 2010 Volvo sent out a recall notice to owners of Volvo’s 2008-2010 XC70 vehicles bringing to their attention the vehicle’s failure to imply with requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 110, “Tire Selection & Rims”.

The letter describes how the maximum inflation tire pressure is listed incorrectly on the Tire & Loading labels as 33psi, in the Owner’s Manual as 35psi and the Tire Pressure Monitoring system’s trigger level as 33psi. The correct maximum permissible inflation should be 36psi. 

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Vehicle Fires- A True Risk to Drivers

U.S. statistics show that in 2006, vehicle fires were to blame for “an estimated 490 deaths, 1,200 injuries and $1.3 billion in property damage“. These numbers are staggering. They become even more so when you consider that “three-quarters of highway vehicle fires resulted from mechanical or electrical failures or malfunctions”. This ultimately means that the majority of the deaths, injuries and property damage sustained by vehicle fires could have been avoided altogether, if only the vehicle’s manufacturer had produced a malfunction-free, fire-safe car for the market.

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Continued SUA Complaints Hound Toyota

NHTSA is now aware of many sudden unintended acceleration SUA complaints being lodged by consumers of Toyota vehicles.  What's new right?  Well, despite Toyota's reassurances to Congress last week, the vehicles cited in these new complaints are ones that have already been fixed pursuant to the recommended recall.  Is the recall fix not working?  Is it being performed incorrectly?  Stay tuned as we bring you the latest on Toyota's sudden acceleration saga.  The Wall Street Journal has more in depth here (subscription required).

Attorneys at the Law Office of D. Hardison Wood are currently investigating a number of SUA complaints in Toyota vehicles.  If you or a loved one has been affected by a sudden acceleration, please feel free to contact us at your earliest convenience.

SUV Rollovers...Still a Serious Risk

Though it has faded from the spotlight in breaking news stories, the risk of SUV rollover remains a serious threat. Drivers and passengers of these vehicles, as well as those of vans and mini-vans, are all potential victims of rollover accidents. These accidents have been and continue to be responsible for loss and damages to property, as well as thousands of deaths and injuries each year. All this, despite efforts to push car manufacturers to make these vehicles safer.

In 2002, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that “rollover crashes constitute about one-fifth of all fatal crashes”, and that “the number of fatal SUV rollovers has more than doubled since 1991”. Many times blame tends to shift from the lack of safety in the vehicle to the carelessness of the driver or passenger for neglecting to wear a seat belt. However, data also shows that “22,000 people who were wearing a safety belt died in rollover crashes in the U.S. between 1992 and 2002”. Clearly, this is not a problem that can be resolved simply by telling people to wear their seat belts.

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Liveblogging - The Toyota Hearings - Day Two

We will have analysis of day one's Toyota Testimony (available in full here) and we'll try to liveblog today's events.  Stream available here.  Some documents are becoming available and we'll post as we can.  You can always check the Committee's website too.

Chairman Towns - Opening Remarks.*.pdf

Sec. LaHood - Prepared Testimony *.pdf

Mr. Akio Toyoda - Prepared Testimony *.pdf

Mr. Yoshimi Inaba - Prepared Testimony *.pdf

Ms. Joan Claybrook - Prepared Testimony *.pdf



5:45pm - Mrs. Lastrella is testifying and it is very emotional.  I really hope Toyodasan hasn't left yet and hears this testimony.

5:32pm - It appears clear to me that the staffers on the majority at least have found lots of Tacoma instances.  That's reading between the lines folks!

5:23pm - Rep. Clay (D-MO) follows up the electronic problem question.  Mr. Toyoda has said today that he is certain the problem is not electronic.  Then why, asks Rep. Clay, are you including a software fix and did you hear the testimony yesterday saying there was an electronic problem?  FWIW, we're losing this argument in its semantics and translation issues.  Toyoda says "thus far" there is no electronic problem found.  He says he heard Dr. Gilbert's testimony, but doesn't know details.  He emphasizes this isn't about who is right or wrong, but we need to conduct more tests and extend cooperation.  Inaba says he is happy to meet with Dr. Gilbert.  Wasn't this on ABC news last folks?  They are talking about the Gilbert test like its some sort of black op or something.  Inaba says this is intended manipulation, not an unintended acceleration test.  Of course, that's the point of the test.  Come on.  This is like saying you can't prove gravity unless you're in space.

5:15pm - Rep. Kaptur (D-OH) starts by ripping into Toyoda.  "Where is the remorse" invoking the death of a Michigan woman who tried to stand on the brakes in order to stop it.  Unfortnately, Rep. Kaptur thinks NHTSA is actually NISHTA, which is a whole different thing.  She's bringing up the Toyota Way book.  "How did Toyota lose its way?  You say your company grew too fast.  Some smart lawyers gave you those words."  Sounds like a prelude to panel III.  "Isn't the Toyota way to push deregulation?"  Toyoda's response: "our people may have not kept pace with expansion."  He says he is going to transform the Toyota business.  Lots of transformation talked about today, as well as trips to Japan.  Maybe if we agree to have a transformative trip to Japan?  Some of this is really silly, and Rep. Kaptur was obviously doing her best to make sure the sober seriousness is not lost in the talking points.

5:07pm - Rep. Speier (D-CA) expresses dismay that Toyoda didn't know that NHTSA came over to Japan.  Toyoda says its true.  Speier asks for all docs, memos, etc. that came from that meeting.  He says he will do so.  Someone needs to tell the committee staffers to keep their reps asking for memos, and docs, because apparently Mr. Toyoda cannot say no.  Speier says I hope you will never use excuse that this is driver error ever again.  Yikes!  Isn't that their stated defense?  Mr. Toyoda promises to never never link customer fault going forward.  That could hurt.  Well done Rep. Speier.  Seems to have gotten some really good concessions from the witnesses late in the day.  Does Mr. Toyoda not understand that Toyota's official position is that ALL of the cases of injuries in SUAs are the result of driver error?  This is a pretty big deal that he promises never to make that argument again.

4:54pm - Toyoda agrees that NHTSA should ask manufacturers to report problems worldwide instead of just inside this country and agrees to assist in doing that.  I get the feeling that the initial testimony was vetted nearly as carefully as the talking points are being vetted.  Not sure why almost every Congressman on this panel feels the necessity to start off saying: "now I've owned Toyotas."  Or "my wife drives a Lexus" but... Are we getting ready for an "If by Toyota" speech?  Mr. Toyoda is still apologizing... and still feeling regret.  Toyoda says to the question of why it took so long to act, "we're setting up a committee."  Who said they didn't know Washington lingo?

3:44pm - Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) asks Mr. Toyoda what he's learned.  There was an interesting moment there prior to this in Inaba's Q&A about the Santee crash.   Toyoda is now speaking about what he's learned, and its hard to hear because the buzzers are going off for the next vote.  I think this is like the 3rd or 4th interruption today.

3:37pm - Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY) reps the area where Toyota's major N. American presence is located.  He's really talking about how great Toyota is, how much we've all learned from them.  And he says we all need to remember that Toyota is doing a great job here by "taking responsibility" for this and holding themselves "accountable."  We'll have more to say on this, but I haven't seen Toyota "take responsibility" for a single instance of SUA yet.  I've seen them apologize, but they haven't taken responsibility.

3:29pm - Some interesting questions about awareness of Mr. Toyoda and the problems related to SUA.  Rep. Connolly is doing the questioning here.  Says that Mr. Toyoda is contradicting Sec. LaHood's testimony.  Asks Toyoda for clarification.  Mr. Toyoda dodges, says someone else was in charge of that.  Connolly: "what did we know and when did we know it?"  Btw, the old saying from my days working on the Hill was that once they start asking that question, you're in trouble.  Asks Inaba what was meant by "secured favorable ruling" in the Toyota docs.

3:18pm - Some technical difficulties on our end... so our coverage between 2:20pm and now is kapoof.  Looks like Rep. Mica is back.  From our perspective, this testimony has been extremely boring.  Kanjorski made some great points, but we've really just been talking about how bad all this is and very little about how to fix this going forward and make sure it doesn't happen again.  Mica is just shocked, shocked to see that "no defect found" is in Toyota's list of "wins".  Not sure if Mica thinks anyone is buying this.  Inaba responds.  Once to straighten facts.  I just got on the job.  Mica points out he'd been working for Toyota 40 years.  It is a shocking statement to have this in your corporate presentation that its a "win" to kill a product defect investigation.  But I'd be surprised if other car companies don't have similar statements in similar instances.  Mr. Toyoda claims he knows nothing about such documents.  But he is upset about them.  Should not be looked at as the type of thing that Toyota endorses.  Looks like another vote is being called.  So Del. Norton is back in the chair.

2:20pm - We're back. Toyota's representatives are sworn in.  Mr. Toyoda and Mr. Inaba.  Chairman Towns begins with remarks, noting this is a voluntary appearance by Mr. Toyoda.  Giving Mr. Toyoda a little more time.  There is a translator available, though I believe Mr. Toyoda is widely known as fluent in English.  His prepared testimony is linked above, which he is reading from now.

1:07pm - We are taking a break. The testimony is still going on.  We'll be back when Mr. Toyoda begins his testimony.



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Great News! Toyota makes brake override standard by EOY 2010

From the Detroit Auto Show, big news:

DETROIT -- Toyota will install brake override systems on all Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles by year end as a way to prevent unintended acceleration.

The new system will be put in all vehicles globally, said Yoshi Inaba, president of Toyota North America Inc., in an interview at the Detroit auto show today. The initiative follows a recall last fall of 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles in the United States to correct the problem.

This is excellent news.  If your accelerator and brake are depressed at the same time, this system automatically cuts the engine to idle.  Still no word why Toyota failed to provide this fix since about 2002 when reports of SUAs in Toyota's suddenly increased.  But at least they're acknowledging the solution and are going to make it standard.

As we've blogged before, if you get in a situation where you vehicle suddenly accelerates and the accelerator pedal will not return, do NOT pump your brakes.  Simply depress the brake firmly and hold it down until stopped.  Then switch the vehicle to neutral and once stopped, immediately power off.

If you've been injured or know someone who has been injured in a SUA event while operating a Toyota, please don't hesitate to contact the Law Office of D. Hardison Wood to speak with an attorney about sudden unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles.  1-877-829-7211.

Toyota Recalls More Vehicles

Another 1.09 million Toyota vehilces have been added to the massive recall. The Toyota recall is also now reaching beyond the US. Toyota announced recalls in China and Europe.

Additionally, lawmakers have now said that they want to review consumer complaints of unintended acceleration as reported in the Toyota vehicles. They plan on having his hearing on Feb. 25th.

House lawmakers, meanwhile, said they intend to hold a Feb. 25 hearing to review the complaints of sudden unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles. "Like many consumers, I am concerned by the seriousness and scope of Toyota's recent recall announcements," said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif. (msnbc)

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Toyota Suspends Sale of Certain Models

Toyota announced today that it was suspending the sale and production of certain Toyota models in the US resulting from the stemming issues Toyota is having with the unintended accleration in their vehicles. 

As part of the plan, Toyota said it was halting production at five manufacturing facilities for the week of Feb. 1 "to assess and coordinate activities." There are 2.3 million vehicles involved in the recall, which was announced last week.

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Breaking News: Toyota's Latest Recall


Yesterday, Toyota announced a voluntary recall  of an additional 2.3 million vehicles due to “isolated reports of sticking accelerator pedal mechanisms…”.

This announcement follows on the heels of Toyota’s recall of 3.8 million Lexus and Toyota vehicles for floor mat design that interferes with accelerator pedals and can result in stuck throttles.


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Nissan Sentra Recall

Nissan announced that it is recalling approximately 10,586 Nissan Sentras from the 2009 model year which are equipped with Bosch master cylinders. Brake fluid may leak causing the brakes to function improperly.


According to the listing on NHTSA's site, the brake circuit may fail and therefore increase the likelihood of a crash. If your vehicle is defective and you would like to discuss your situation with us, contact us immediately at 919-233-0520.


Audi Recall

Audi has issued a recall of approximately 10,200 Audi A3, TT, and TT Roadster models for involving MY 2006 through 2010. It appears there may be an issue a spring found in the fuel tank ventilation valve, leading to its inability to close during extreme driving conditions. when not closed, fuel can leak out, and with an ignition source, could lead to a car fire.



If you have had a car fire and would like to discuss your situation with our firm, please contact us immediately at 919.233.0520.

Nissan Rogue Recall

Nissan announced yet another recall of some of its Model Year 2008-2009 Rogues. This recall could affect approximately 163,659 units and involves a screw in the steering gear cover that may loosen and fall out, potentially resulting in complete loss of steering.


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Toyota Recall

Toyota will be recalling nearly 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles. The report cites this recall will be in an effort to fix a safety problem where floor mats are jamming the accelerator. The unsecured floor mats are allegedly either getting caught or somehow jamming the accelerator to a point where the vehicles are speeding out of control. Some of these vehicles have led to horrible crashes killing innocent occupants. A recent crash has finally prompted Toyota to take some action according to NHTSA. Of course it remains to be seen if it truly is the floor mats causing these problems or if it possible there are other issues with these vehicles.

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Tougher Braking Standards for Trucks

Trucks are involved in approximately 400,000 crashes each year according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. NHTSA announced that it is going to require tougher braking standards on large trucks. The standard will govern the distance within which a truck traveling at 60 mph must stop.

The new standard requires that a tractor-trailer traveling at 60 miles per hour come to a complete stop in 250 feet. The old standard required a complete stop within 355 feet.

The press release says this standard will begin with the 2012 model year vehicles.The newstandard will not apply to single unit trucks, trailers and buses but rather only to truck tractors.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident and you would like to discuss it further, please call us 1-877-829-7211.


New Auto Recalls

There have been some new recalls and defect investigations by NHTSA involving auto manufacturers. With these recalls, the auto manufacturers are required to make the repairs at their own cost. Some of the latest recalls involve Subaru. Approximately 15,000 model year 2005 - 2006 Baja vehicles have been recalled due to fuel pump issues which could cause a fuel leak.

Honda has recalled recalled about 440,000 vehicles including certain Accords, Civics, and Acura TLs because the air inflator on the driver's side could producr too much pressure possibly ending metal shards through the air bag.

In Japan, Honda recalled 1,532 Saber and Inspire vehicles due to a fatal incident in the United States. There have been reports of seven incidents where metal fragments flew through air bags in certain Hinda vehicles. The seven incidents included Accords and Civics. Honda recalled the inspire and Sabre models in Japan because they use the same type of air bag that is used on the Civic and Accord.

And, NHTSA is taking a second look at a previous recall of 2005 Chryselr and Dodge minivans to determine if the recall worked. They had previously been recalled due to corrosion on the air bag sensors casuing the sensors to stop working.

New Roof Crush Standards

Roof crush standards currently require that the roof withstand 1.5 times its weight in a roll over. However, that is not strong enough to help occupants necessarily survive one of the deadliest types of crashes: car rollovers which kill approximately 10,000 people a year. Now, the US Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood announced new tougher standards.

The new regulation from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will double the current roof strength requirement for light vehicles weighing up to 6,000 pounds. It specifies that both the driver and passenger sides of the roof must be capable of withstanding a force equal to three times the weight of the vehicle.

The current standard calls for roofs to withstand 1.5 times the weight of the vehicle, applied to one side of the roof, for light vehicles up to 6,000 pounds.

Heavier vehicles from 6,000 to 10,000 pounds, which have never been regulated, must now have both sides of the roof capable of withstanding a force equal to 1.5 times the weight of the vehicle.

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Air Bag Recalls

Several air bags have been recalled involving different car manufacturers. Many of these recalls have to with sensor problems causing the air bag either to fail in its deployment, or to go off causing serious injury to the passenger.

• GM: 12,662 2009 Cadillac CTS sedans over a software problem that may disable the front-passenger air bag when it should be enabled or vice versa.

• Nissan: more than 200,000 2007-08 Altima, 350Z, Murano and Rogue and Infiniti EX35, G35 and G37 vehicles to fix a sensor for the passenger-side air bag. Nissan is also recalling 16,365 2006 Murano and 2008 Infiniti EX35 SUVs to fix incorrectly programmed software that may lead passenger-side air bags to fail.

• BMW: 200,000 2006 3 Series and 2004-06 5 Series cars and 2004-06 X3 SUVs over concerns that the front-passenger air bag may not deploy in a crash. Small cracks could develop in a seat detection mat and deactivate the bags but activate the warning light.

• Hyundai: is recalling 393,714 2006-08 Sonata sedans to fix a problem with the air-bag system in the front passenger seat. The affected cars have an advanced system that disables the passenger front bag when it detects a child-restraint system or small child in the seat.

• Ford: is recalling 470,000 2005-08 Mustangs to update passenger-side front-air-bag software. Ford says internal testing showed the air bag could injure a small, unbelted passenger.

Read the article on

If you or someone you know has been injured due to an airbag or an airbag failure please contact our office at 919-677-0144.

Explorer Rollover Deaths

According to an article we recently read, a new report, Ford Explorers in Fatal, Tire-related Crashes: Before and After the Firestone Recall, written by Randy and Alice Whitfield, discussed the finding that approximately 65% of  501 deaths occurred after the Bridgestone-Firestone Wildnerness ATX tire recall - which is what was blamed for 173 Explorer rollover deaths in 2000.  Apparently for two years following the recall, there was a decline in Explorer rollover deaths. However, after those initial two years, the death toll started to rise again. One could possibly conclude that a long-term solution to the tires and rollover related deaths has not yet been achieved.  One might also question, is there a deeper vehicle related issue.

Continuing to look at the tires is important, but also it may be important to look toward the steering mechanisms in the SUV, especially those in tire failure situations.

Widow Files Lawsuit against GM and Continental Tire Company

A widow of a border patrol agent has filed a lawsuit against General Motors and Continental Tire Company. Her husband was riding in is patrol vehicle when the tire fell apart. The vehicle then rolled over causing severe head trauma due to the roof crush sustained in the roll.

Agent Webb's vehicle rolled, and the roof collapsed causing massive head injuries.

As we have learned defective tire production spans across many manufacturers. And as we have often discussed the head trauma caused by roof crush and the loose roof crush standards in vehicles often leads to catastrophic injuries or death.

If you or someone you know has been affected by a product failure, please contact us at 919-677-0144.

Roof Crush - Standards Lacking

A new investigative report by brings to light  a major issue regarding safety standards of a car's roof and its ability to withstand crush during a rollover. The testing has not been adequate but beyond that the standard which is currently in place,

"which has been in effect since the early 1970s, has been a total, ineffective disaster," according to Bryon Bloch, an automobile expert who has testified in courts across the U.S. about how weak roofs have led to serious injuries.

For years there has been talk about raising the standard, however, there are constant delays.

The NHTSA acknowledged that the standard was not good enough in 2005. That was when the agency announced that it should be improved from 1 1/2 to 2 times

Nearly four years later, the NHTSA has not improved the standard, Aker reported. Instead, it has issued a trail of statements announcing postponements, such as one from October saying, "We must ensure that any final rules we issue are as successful as possible... we need more time to complete a new roof strength standard."

In the meantime, while we are waiting for the standards to be reviewed and final changes made, as reports, "As many as 10,000 people are killed and 16,000 are injured in rollover crashes."

Booster Seat Poor Evaluations

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute have put out a new study with regard to booster seats - they found 13 booster seats do not position the belt properly on children. This study did not look at the crashworthiness of the seats but rather the belt positioning. As we know booster seats help prop children up higher, with a goal of making sure the car's seat belt is in the correct position.

The seat belt is meant to be routed across a child's lower hips and mid-shoulders instead of the abdomen because the liver and spleen are more vulnerable to injuries. Story

This of course does not mean and should not be taken to mean that parents should opt not to use a booster seat at all- it just means that parents need to ensure that the one they are using at least has the seat belt positioned in the proper location.


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We have often discussed the need to utilize five point harnesses booster seats. Far too many children have been killed in car crashes when their child seat has failed them. The Kyle David Miller foundation, was set up in memory of such a young boy. His courageous family has gone on to start a website called www.hipmonkey. com where you can find 5 point harness car seat for your child, while supporting their foundation.

No matter where you purchase your next car seat, please do your research. And if you have a child getting ready to go into a booster, before automatically putting them in one of those booster seats that uses the car's seatbelt and no tether, please check out the five point harness boosters. We have heard over and over again, how easy it is once your child in in a booster seat that uses the car's seat belt - because then he/she has the ability to buckle and unbuckle themselves...Except there is of course the other end of the story that we hear, when after a car crash, a child who was utilizing the car's seat belt in conjuction with one of those booster seats, was ejected form the vehicle. Why? Because the car's seat belt could not restrain the child during the crash. Car seat belts are not made for small children. 

Dodge Challenger Recalled

All vehicles have federal safety standards they must meet. It turns out that Chrysler has to recall 6,636 2008-2009 Doge Challengers which have automatic transmissions and the "keyless go" option. Why? According to inside line it may

fail to meet a federal safety standard for theft prevention which could result in accidental rollaway.

It appears that when the stop/start button can be pressed and in postions other than Park. That would to me,  definitely seem to pose a problem.

According to the National HighwayTraffic Saftey Administration, this safety standard exists to reduce crashes due to theft or rollaway vehicles.

Nissan Recall - Fire Hazard

Nissan has issued a recall for 180,664 model year 2005-2006 Titan, Armada, and Infiniti QX56 manufactured after March 17, 2005 as announced on the NHTSA ODI website. It seems these vehicles that are equipped with the Visteon air conditioning condenser air motor. The fan may not be properly sealed thereby allowing excessive water intrusion. This corrosion can lead to overheating thus resulting in a car fire.

If you have been involved in a  car fire and think our firm can assist you please do not hesitate to contact us. Continue Reading...

Tire Valve Recall

Tech International, a distributor based in Ohio, has announced that it is recalling 6 million tire valves. These tire valves were manufactured by China based, Shanghai Baolong Industries Co. The recall notice stated that stems could crack and cause a gradual reduction in tire pressure. Of course it is very difficult to figure out who has these types of valves on their tires.
"Tech International does not know the identity of any end-users of the TR413 valves and has no realistic method of determining the identity of such individuals. Furthermore, there is no realistic method for Tech International to identify the production dates of any specific TR413 valves," the company said in its letter to NHTSA.

There is a push for people to inspect their tires, valves for any cracks, and to check the tire  pressure.
  "Air loss at highway speeds may result in a tire failure and loss-of-control crash," said Sean Kane, president of Safety Research and Strategies.

Read the entire article found in the Detroit News.

Toyota Highlander Recall

Seat belts can save your life if they work. 90,000 2008 Toyota Highlanders and Toyota Highlander hybrids are being recalled due to the fact that the seat belts' locking mechanisms failing.
The locking mechanism on the seat belts apparently cannot secure properly when certain rear-facing child safety seats are used, which could cause the child seats to move, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported on Friday. Read More
If you have been affected by a seat belt failure or any other mechanism defect, please report it the NHTSA. If our law firm can be of  any assistance please do not hesitate to  contact us.

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How are rollovers survivable?

One of the obstacles victims of rollover accidents face is the stereotype that rollovers are inherently dangerous.  This isn't usually, and certainly not always, the case.  Rollovers tend to be very survivable, especially when compared to a high speed side impact collision or a head on collision.   The forces at play are dissipated along several axes in a rollover, whereas in side impact and head on collisions, the forces tend to operate in straight lines and along one axis.

Not to say rollovers aren't deadly.  There are approximately 10,000 deaths in the US alone per year due to rollovers.  Most of these are single vehicle accidents.  Roof crush and occupant ejection are the single biggest factors in these fatalities. 

Occupant ejection is minimized by the use of safety belts equipped with pretensioners (these devices were first introduced in 1981).  When searching for a new vehicle, especially an SUV or light truck, make sure to ask if its seat belts are equipped with pretensioners as these will decrease the likelihood of occupant ejection in a rollover event.

Roof crush, on the other hand, is not so easily fixed.  Maintaining occupant survival space is the first goal of successful engineering, yet too many of today's SUVs do a lousy job of this.  Look at this example of a simulated Ford Explorer rollover.  They will roll it twice, not unlike what would happen if the vehicle rolled at highway speeds.  Make sure you watch the full video.  On the first roll, you'll see the passenger side leads, and maintains its survival space, while the driver's side already shows sign of deadly intrusion.  On the second roll, you'll see there is no survival space left on the driver's side.

There is no way the driver walks away from this.  On the flip, we'll show you another test where a rollover seems hardly violent at all.
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Walking and A Rollover

Due to the crashworthiness and products liability focuses at our law firm, we unfortunately hear about deaths caused by rollovers quite often and even more often deaths caused by SUV rollovers. The grief a family mist endure is heart wrenching. However, once in awhile we hear about or read about someone taking such a tragedy and doing something to move forward in a positive way. These stories provide a sense of hope and also keep the focus on working towards tougher safety in vehicles.
After everything that he has been through, Lee Wagner has decided to go for a walk. 

Not a routine stroll, but a 380-mile journey on a surgically repaired knee in an effort to raise money for the scholarship fund that bears the names of his two children. 

The walk will take him through Georgia and both Carolinas. As he walks, he will share his story, his wife Debbie Wagner’s story and most importantly, the story of their beloved children, Jillian and "Little" Lee Wagner, with anyone who cares to join him for a mile or two along the way.

Lee Wagner will walk because he wants to raise awareness about traffic accidents and SUVs.  He will walk because people grieve in different ways. He will walk because after four long years, “The pain is still fresh,” as he continues to search for moments of peace. Read the entire article


Evenflo Car Seat Recall

Evenflo has announced a recall of  over 1 million car seats. Please ensure your child's car seat is not affected.
Make / Models :         Model/Build Years:    
     EVENFLO / 390 (DISCOVERY)     2005-2008
     EVENFLO / 391 (DISCOVERY)     2005-2008
     EVENFLO / 534 (DISCOVERY)     2005-2008
     EVENFLO / 552 (DISCOVERY)     2005-2008

ATV Stats

It seems that  555 people, which includes over 100 children, died in all terrain vehicle (ATV) accidents in 2006. Officials have said that they expect the number to increase as more hospitals and coroners report information. The Consumer Product Safety Commission also published in their annual report that and additional 146,600 people have been treated in emergency rooms for their  ATV-related injuries of which more than a quarter were children.
Consumer groups and parents who have lost children in crashes have complained for years about the safety of the popular off-road vehicles.
The industry contends it's not the ATV but the driver that's the problem. "ATVs have never been shown to be an unsafe product, but there have been bad decisions made by people sitting on the seat," said Mike Mount, a spokesman for the California-based Specialty Vehicle Institute of America.

Preemption victory for crashworthiness plaintiffs

In the matter O'Hara v. General Motors, a recent ruling has plaintiffs celebrating and defendants checking their pocketbooks.

The US Ct. of Appeals for the 5th Circuit reached an important issue yesterday and came down squarely against auto manufacturers who try to hide their defective products behind Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

The ruling dealt with FMVSS 205 which is a rule governing the glazing used in windows.  For a long time auto makers have argued, successfully most of the time, that their choice of window material was just fine because it met the requirements FMVSS 205.

Plaintiffs and their attorneys had been challenging the use of the tempered windows in vehicles that have latent stability and control issues because in rollover situations, the protection offered by tempered windows is minimal.

The O'Hara court addressed the question of whether or not FMVSS 205 was a minimum safety standard.  If it is a minimum safety standard, the states are free to adopt common law rules which go beyond the minimums in promoting safety.  If its not a minimum safety standard, however, any tort claims against auto makers involving their selection of glass glazing would be preempted by 205.  In essence, compliance would be the standard of reasonableness, no matter what.

The court started out by explaining that the entire issue dealt with whether 205 was a minimum standard.  And by saying just that much, I'm fairly certain that most plaintiff side product liability attorneys knew two things: (a) the O'Hara court was coming down on the side of safety, and (b) it was now going to be harder for manufacturers to continue their "design to minimums" stance.

Of course, the court didn't disappoint that expectation, holding:
Because the text and commentary on FMVSS 205 show that it is best understood as a minimum safety standard, we hold that the O’Haras’ common law negligence and strict liability claims are not preempted. See Geier, 529 U.S. at 870. The marketing and failure-to-warn claims which are dependent on them are also not preempted.
A big congratulations to Pat Ardis for this.  He has worked tirelessly on the glazing issue and has advanced the ball for plaintiffs throughout the country with this ruling.

GM Recalls 720,000 for Defective Airbags

This happened a few weeks ago but wanted to share it anyway as it impacts so a large number of vehicles.  The story says that:
One recall covers about 570,000 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, as well as Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL sport utility vehicles, all built between February 1999 and February 2000.
Not good.  Especially due to the age of the vehicle.  These cars have been on the road for quite some time.  Undoubtedly many people have been injured as a result.
A company spokesman declined to say whether those reports involved injuries or fatalities. But a U.S. government database of vehicle safety complaints from consumers shows 37 reports of air bags failing to deploy in crashes of the recalled vehicles. including 30 injuries and one fatality.
We don't have a good ratio for reports to incidents yet, but generally speaking, it is true that NHTSA's database is not a statistically significant sample of data yet.  So, it is not unfair to guess that reports to incidents are in the neighborhood of 1 to 10 (or far more).

For North Carolinians, this is even more troubling.  Should any of these vehicles cause a fatality, or worse, in North Carolina, the occupants are more than likely going to be barred from holding GM accountable.  NC's rigid Statute of Repose limits claims against manufacturers of defective products to six years from the date of sale.  Hopefully, evidence like this will push our legislature to make that statute much more reasonable.

Engine Fire Lawsuit

Car fires are hot.  They burn just about everything inside.  And everyt ime one of them occurs, you can bet eyebrows get raised at the manufacturing plant.  If a car is well made and well cared for, it shouldn't burst into flames under normal use.

Todd Tracy, perhaps best known for his work on vehicle aggressivity, has filed an engine fire lawsuit in Texas against General Motors, the manufacturer of the 2004 Chevy Malibu which burst into flames after the car slide off the road and impacted with a signage pole on the side of I-45.  The resulting fire killed the driver and four of his family members.

Our firm is also currently involved in the investigative stage of a car fire lawsuit here in NC.  These types of cases pose interesting challenges for the plainittf's lawyer, and at the end of day are undoubtedly tough ones to bring to a jury.  But they are also inexplicable tragedies, and typically just a small correction in the quality control process could prevent the fire from ever starting in the first place.  Though I'm sure Tracy's firm doesn't need it, we do wish them best of luck in what is sure to be a demanding case.

Higher Vehicle Standards

The NHTSA announced tougher standards for passenger vehicles in side impact crashes. The new standard requires auto manufacturers to provide head protection in side impact crashes.  This only  seems to make  common sense.  When someone is involved in a side impact crash, the person's head is extremely vulnerable to traumatic injury.  As a matter of fact, even in  a frontal  collision, there is  a great likelihood that the person's head, will fall to the  side and is vulnerable to sustaining injury  from the side as well.  At least these higher standards are a step in the right direction.  Read the new standards here.

Roof Crush

A new study relates that strength of a car's roof to its ability to prevent  serious injury  in a rollover crash.
A new report from the University of Alabama has studied Ford's own internal crash test data and concluded that the strength of a vehicle's roof is absolutely critical in preventing death or serious injury in the event of a rollover incident. Read More.

Ford has resisted this common sense conclusion for decades in its defense of hundreds of crashworthiness lawsuits.  In these suits, Ford argues that serious injury and death are not a function of roof strength, but instead these injuries a function of violent rollovers.  Implicitly, and sometimes explicitly, championing the position that rollovers are so violent no roof can help, no matter how strong.
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Side Air Bag Rule?

It looks  like next month Federal official will reveal a new requirement for automakers to install side air bags by the early part of the next decade.

Side-impact crashes are the second most common fatal type after frontal crashes, killing 9,200 people in 2005. The percentage of fatalities caused by side-impact crashes is on the rise -- from 31 percent in 1980-81 to 49 percent in 2004-05.

That's at least partly because frontal air bags are required in today's vehicles (and have reduced frontal-crash fatalities), and side air bags are not, said Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Also, Lund said, "growing sales of SUVs and pickups have exacerbated height mismatches among passenger vehicles, thereby increasing the risks to occupants of many vehicles struck in the side."


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BMW Sedan - Side Impact Rating

By now you may have heard about the "worst performing" BMW 5 series sedan in side impact testing performed by IIHS.  It should send shockwaves, we hope, through BMW.  From the article:
The air bags in the BMW 5 Series protected the head, but separate air bags designed to protect the chest and abdomen performed poorly, the institute said.
BMW's are expensive, high-performing automobiles and there is simply no excuse for them to offer their passengers sub-standard safety in deadly side impact collisions.  The tests that the BMW failed were tests of what, at least in America, are becoming very common side-impact tragedies:
The tests were designed to show what would happen if a truck or sport utility vehicle hit the side of the sedan at 31 mph, the speed of a serious crash. Side-impact crashes are the most common type of fatal crash after a frontal crash, killing around 9,000 people in 2005, the institute said.
But there is a silver-lining to this latest round of crash 'em up.  The $25K sedan made by KIA ended up with the highest safety rating available from the IIHS.  Putting it in the same league as the vaunted VOLVO S-80.  Which of course should make you wonder, what's all that extra money doing for you in a BMW?

Cheap & Chinese Made

I hope at some point, and I suspect that point is close, American consumers will realize that price in itself is determinative of nothing... except price.

What does that mean?  It means that even though "you can't judge a book by its cover" it is equally true that "cheaper ain't always better."  And thus, we have the world of the crashworthiness narrowed down into a couple of trite sayings.  Here's a contemporary example... the Chinese sedan...

More on the flip.
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Roof Crush Summit

Really good article on roof crush.  It starts off taking you through one of the "lucky" survivors of roof crush, a paraplegic named David Garcia.  Then they walk you through FMVSS 216.  The article reminds of a film I've seen from GM (I think, could've been Ford) from about 1960 or so.  It shows an onboard camera view of a rollover in a sedan.  The vehicle stays together pretty well and everyone who sees the video says the same thing: "even the roof held."  It is pretty scary that we say that, but everyone does.  Problem is roof crush is an all too often issue in vehicle crashes, especially rollovers.  Please read the whole article carefully, some life saving information in there.

Volvo XC 90 Rollover testing

Pretty impressive engineering behind this test.  While I can't be certain, I am told that one of Ford's hunkety hunks was in the stands watching this test.  Hopefully that person was taking careful notes.

The Physics of Rollovers

Rollovers kill about 10,000 people a year in the US.  This is a slightly accelerating trend due to the popularity of SUVs.  Understanding how rollovers occur can help in prevention, and it can also help in understanding why manufacturers can help reduce rollover accidents with SUVs and other automobiles.
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Car Seats Sometimes Don't Help

This is a very unfortunate story, and our thoughts and  prayers go out to this child's family.