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

 

The recall seems to be centered around cars from 2000-2004. There are reports that there is at least one known instance where the airbag deployed too forcefully. Dealers are likely to handle the required repairs.

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
 

 

The jury found that the car was defectively made and that there are other designs that are available which could have prevented such extensive damage. The NJ jury awarded $4.2M.

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.

Central to the investigation are concerns of the plastic rear mounted gas tank which may lead to higher incidence of fires. So far NHTSA has received reports of 15 deaths and 41 injuries related to this potential problem.

According to a government analysis, there is “a higher incidence of rear-impact, fatal fire crashes for the Jeep products.”

Chrysler officials downplay the issue, though David Dillon, Chrysler’s head of product investigations, acknowledged in an interview with the Detroit News that, “Grand Cherokee may have more of these events than their competitors.” But, on the whole, Dillon insisted, “Those vehicles essentially are performing the same as their peers.”

Read more here.

 

Safety Recalls - Who initiates them?

The number one killer of Americans under the age of 34 is injuries suffered from car crashes. Some of these crashes are the result of a defect or a safety standard missing in the automobile they are driving or riding in. The Department of  Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the organization which issues safety standards and also requires manufacturers to recall defective products such as cars, car seats, tires, etc. They also can issue a recall for those products that not meet the safety standards as set forth.

So when is a recall required? When the vehicle or other product does not comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards or when there is a safety-related defect in the vehicle or equipment. Some examples are:

-Steering components that break suddenly causing partial or complete loss of vehicle control.
-Problems with fuel system components, particularly in their susceptibility to crash damage, that result in leakage of fuel and possibly cause vehicle fires.
-Accelerator controls that may break or stick.
-Wheels that crack or break, resulting in loss of vehicle control.
- Engine cooling fan blades that break unexpectedly causing injury to persons working on a vehicle.
-Windshield wiper assemblies that fail to operate properly.
-Seats and/or seat backs that fail unexpectedly during normal use.
- Critical vehicle components that break, fall apart, or separate from the vehicle, causing potential loss of vehicle control or injury to persons inside or outside the vehicle.
-Wiring system problems that result in a fire or loss of lighting.
-Car ramps or jacks that may collapse and cause injury to someone working on a vehicle.
-Air bags that deploy under conditions for which they are not intended to deploy.
-Child safety seats that contain defective safety belts, buckles, or components that create a risk of injury, not only in a vehicle crash but also in non-operational safety of a motor vehicle.
 

For more information on the investigative and recall process or to download NHTSA's booklet on recalls go here. If you believe you have a safety related defect and would like to report it to NHTSA the hotline is 1-888-327-4236 or 1-800-424-9393 or you can go online to www.safecar.gov.

To read more on FMVSS go here.

 

Britax Issues Recall

NHTSA announced that Britax is recalling certain Chaperone car seats produced from September 2010 through April 2011. It has been reported that the harness may detach from the shell of the car seat exposing to the child to injury or death should a vehicle crash occur. The distribution of safety kits and the institution of the recall is scheduled to begin February 6, 2012 according to the NHTSA release.

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

Tots Safest Riding Rear Facing

NHTSA and the American Academy of Pediatrics agree that children are better off staying rear facing until the age of two.

NHTSA said that its new guidelines are consistent with the latest advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics which advises parents to keep kids in rear-facing restraints until two years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat’s manufacturer. There is no need to hurry to transition a child to the next restraint type. Read More

 

Recommendations for older children have also been revised. It is now recommended that a child remain in a booster seat until he/she has reached at least 4 foot 9 inches (generally between the ages of 8 and 12). It is important that the vehicle's shoulder harness is appropriately positioned on the child in the event of a car crash. If the child is too short, the seat belt can completely fail to protect the child or do more harm than good.

If you or your child has suffered a personal injury in a car crash or due to a product defect, contact the Law Office of D. Hardison Wood at 919.233.0520 to discuss today!

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.

Toyota recalled nearly 1.7 million cars worldwide Wednesday for fuel leaks, the latest in a ballooning number of quality problems that could add another dent to its tarnished reputation in the crucial U.S. market.

In one of the problems announced Wednesday, an improper installation of a sensor to measure fuel pressure may cause the sensor to loosen as a result of engine vibration over time, and possibly cause fuel leakage, the company said. That problem also affects 280,000 Lexus cars sold abroad, 255,000 of them in North America and 10,000 in Europe. (article)

If you have suffered a personal injury due to a product defect or because of another's negligence, contact the Law Office of. D. Hardison Wood today! 919.233.0520

New Booster Seat Ratings Released

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released new report on booster seats. This report is NOT based on crash tests, but rather on the positioning of the belt.

The Institute doesn't conduct vehicle crash tests to evaluate boosters because boosters don't do the restraining in a crash. It's the fit of the belt that's important.

According to the findings, 8 booster seats are not recommended at all. While this number is down from the findings last year - 36 were found to be in the middle.

Even though poor performers make up a smaller percentage of boosters evaluated this year, 36 fall in the middle because they don't consistently fit belts well on most kids in most cars, minivans, and SUVs. Most of these are backless boosters with good lap belt scores but not good shoulder belt scores.

 

NHTSA only ranks booster seats on how easy they are to use. Further, crash tests do not measure the fit on the child. With each child's height and weight variance it can be difficult ot find the booster seat that has the correct fit for your child.

Belts do the main job of keeping kids in boosters safe in crashes, but belts along with vehicle seats are designed for adults, not children, so it's important for boosters to lift kids into position for lap/shoulder belts to provide proper restraint. Children 4-8 who ride in boosters are 45 percent less likely to sustain injuries in crashes than children restrained by belts alone. (read the article)

A a side note NHTSA reminds the public of Child Passenger Safety Week (September 19-25).

During our 2010 CHILD PASSENGER SAFETY (CPS) WEEK, parents and caregivers are urged to verify that their child safety seats are properly installed and correctly used. Read more

If your child has suffered injuries due to negligence of another, please contact the Law Office of D. Hardison Wood. 1-877-NCLAW-411. (1-877-625-2941)

 

$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.

 

In this particular case, the Pathfinder was struck by another vehicle after it had been involved in a crash - the left front tire was driven through the firewall and into the driver's side footwell causing severe injuries to the plaintiff. The Texas jury found Nissan responsible for Plaintiff's injuries. Nissan tried to appeal the decision, the court upheld the $1.85 Million verdict. Read more

If you or someone you know has been injured due negligence of another, contact the Law Office of D. Hardison Wood today. 919-233-0520 or toll-free 1-877-829-7211.

 

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.

Until stricter guidelines are made mandatory for car manufacturers, vehicle fires will continue to occur. At times, these accidents can happen unexpectedly, without warning or notice, and even without a collision. It is wise to educate yourself on steps you can take to prevent these fires, and what to do should you become a vehicle fire victim. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

-Maintain your vehicle well. Have repairs done as needed. Have your vehicle inspected at least once a year.

-Keep up-to-date on recalls that pertain to your vehicle. For example, the latest Honda Fit recall is due to a fire hazard that can be caused just from having water leak in through the window.

-Be aware of the noises your car makes. Make an effort to turn down the radio and just listen to the way your car is running from time to time. Anything that sounds out of the ordinary is worth getting checked out.

-Periodically check for wear and tear on your vehicle. Be sure all bolts and wiring are secure. Check for cracked pipes or hoses. If anything is out of place or appears worn out, have it repaired as soon as you can.

-If your car does catch on fire, pull over to the side of the road. Turn the car off. Get everyone out of the vehicle, and move at least 100 feet away. Keep everyone together and away from the road or highway. Call 911.

-Do not attempt to open the hood of a burning car.

-Do not attempt to put the fire out of a burning vehicle. Statistics show that “one-third of non-fatal highway vehicle fire injuries occurred when civilians attempted to fight the fire themselves”.
 

For more information on vehicle fires and the risk they impose on drivers and their families, please visit:

http://www.nfpa.org/categoryList.asp?categoryID=1123&URL=Safety%20Information/For%20consumers/Vehicle%20fires&cookie_test=1

http://www.firehouse.com/forums/showthread.php?t=74895

http://www.nfpa.org/assets/files//PDF/Research/VehicleFires.pdf

Vehicle fires are serious accidents that can leave victims disfigured or disabled for the rest of their lives. Many times the financial loss of a vehicle or other property damage becomes an enormous burden for families. And of course, no one can replace the innocent lives that these catastrophic accidents claim. If you have been injured or suffered loss as a result of a vehicle fire, don't forget you may have a  legal claim against the manufacturer. Without a doubt the manufacturer will try to lay blame elsewhere, as seen in the Toyota incidents, and create illusions that make your story seem false 

But the lawmakers questioned whether Toyota had fully explored the problem. According to the committee's review of 75,000 documents from Toyota, including 20,000 in Japanese, the automaker dismissed many sudden acceleration complaints as driver error.

After the launch of probes by two committees, Toyota hired an outside engineering firm, Exponent, to run tests on its electronic throttle controls. Executives later cited an interim report by Exponent finding no fault with the controls as evidence that the system worked as designed.

But the committee said Exponent only tested six vehicles and did not conduct any testing of real-world interference. Two outside experts who reviewed the report said it was so limited it was of little value. (read more)

However, your legal rights should not be forgotten. If you or a loved one have suffered loss or injury as a result vehicle fire, we’d like to help. Please contact the law offices of D. Hardison Wood to speak with an attorney who will fight to make sure your rights are protected.
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The LATCH System

Car seats have come a long way since the first sack and string models in 1898. It wasn’t until the 1930s that a car seat similar to today’s child restraint system was designed. In the 1960s and 1970s, more emphasis began to be put on child safety in vehicles and the importance of using car seats when traveling with children. And with car accidents being the number one killer of children, improvements are still needed.

In 1999, the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system was established. This system is governed by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards 225, making it possible for child restraint systems to be installed more effectively and easily, thereby increasing child safety. All new vehicles must now be LATCH equipped, as well as all new car seats.

The LATCH system is comprised of two lower anchors and one upper anchor in the vehicle. The two lower anchors are round, rod-like bars hidden in the seat cushion. The upper anchor is a ring-like device, attached to the back of the rear seat. On the CRS itself, you will find clips that hook or snap onto the lower anchors and a hook or clamp that attaches to the upper anchor. Once all three anchors are attached, the belts connected to each should be tightened for maximum safety.
 

For more information on the LATCH system, visit these websites:

For the LATCH system to be effective, it is imperative that the child restraint system be put in the vehicle correctly. Whether you are heading out on a long road trip with the family or just down the street to soccer practice, the safety of your child depends on a correctly installed car seat.

For information on how to correctly install your LATCH car seat, click here:
 

http://www.edmunds.com/advice/womenfamilies/articles/104581/article.html

http://www.research.chop.edu/programs/carseat/

http://www.tobio.info/passat/howtos/LATCH.pdf

http://www.ehow.com/video_4440673_latch-system-works-car-seats.html
 

If you are interested in finding out more about the NHTSA National Standardized Child Passenger Safety certification course, visit this website:

www.cpsboard.org/techmanual.htm

For car safety tips and other tips for traveling with children, please visit these websites, and share them with anyone who will be responsible for traveling with or transporting your children by motor vehicle.

www.safekids.org/tips/tips_car.htm

www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/travelsafetytips.cfm
 

If you have been affected by a faulty child seat or any other injury and would like to discuss your potential legal claim please contact our office at 1-877-829-7211.

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More Toyota Recalls

Toyota is facing a mounting pile of problems to mend in 2010. Due to the rising number of recalls, and the dangerous nature of these defective products, Toyota customers are wise to stay informed and up-to-date as to the status of their vehicle.

The following are the latest two recalls from Toyota:

-Toyota Camry 2010 models are being recalled due to a series of insufficient parts which, under certain circumstances, could puncture the brake tube, impacting the vehicle’s braking capabilities and increasing the risk of a crash. There are 7,314 potentially affected vehicles.

Toyota will notify owners of potentially affected vehicles, and if needed, dealers will replace or adjust the faulty brake tube at no charge. Owners may contact Toyota at 1-800-331-4331.

The full recall summary can be found here.

-Toyota is also recalling approximately 148,549 2010 Prius and Lexus models. These vehicles have braking inconsistencies, leading to increased stopping distances, which creates the potential for a crash. The remedy will require a rewrite of the ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) control program, and will be free of charge to customers.

Owners may contact Toyota at 1-800-331-4331 or Lexus at 1-800-255-3987 for more information. Owners may also call the NHTSA’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or visit www.safercar.gov.

A full summary of this recall can be viewed here.

If you have suffered injuries as a result of the malfunctioning vehicles listed above, or from any of the many recent Toyota recalls, please contact our office immediately at 1-877-829-7211 to discuss your potential case.

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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)

Although, Toyota had originally said the unexplained acceleration was related to the floor mats, they are now looking towards the actual pedals manufactured by CTS, who also makes pedals for many other car companies.

Toyota dealers in the U.S. have been swamped with calls from concerned owners but had few answers as the recalls snowballed. Elkhart, Ind.-based CTS Corp., which made the parts...

...No decision has been made yet on whether to repair the pedals or replace them altogether, he said, and he would not estimate how long it will take for customers to see action.

CTS also makes pedals for Honda Motor Co., Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan Motor Co. and Ford Motor Co. in China, but the company said pedals made for those manufacturers don't have the same design. Still, Ford on Thursday halted production of some full-sized commercial vehicles in China because they contain CTS gas pedals.

If you have been affected by these product defects, please contact our office immediately to discuss your potential matter.

 

Booster Seat Installation

If you are a parent, it is likely that ensuring your child’s safety is among your top priorities. The most precious cargo traveling in your vehicle is your child, and it is vital that we, as parents, take the precautions necessary in order to keep that cargo as safe as possible.

Statistics show that in the 1990s, eighty percent of children riding in car seats and booster seats were improperly restrained. In 2005, a new study was conducted that found that 72.6 percent of the children observed were restrained improperly. The most common misuses found were loose harness straps holding the child in place, and loose seat belts holding the CRS (Child Restraining System) itself in place. Twelve percent of the children studied were not restrained at all.

Your child’s booster seat could be a key factor in saving his or her life in the event of a car crash. However, booster seats can only be useful if they are installed correctly and used properly on a day to day basis. The first step in ensuring safety for your child on the road is correct installation of the booster seat.

Useful tips for a successful booster seat installation can be found here and here.

Once your booster seat is installed, it is a good idea to make sure the installation was a safe and successful one. Go to www.seatcheck.org or call 1-866-SEAT-CHECK to find an inspection center near you. Trained and certified child safety seat technicians are there to ensure your child will be safe in his or her new booster seat.

If your child has been injured due to booster seat malfunction or incorrect installation, please call us at 1-877-829-7211 to discuss your potential claim.
 

Booster Seat Safety

Car accidents are the greatest risk to a child’s life. Each year, 250,000 children are injured in car accidents in the US alone. Car accidents are reportedly the number one cause of death in children ranging from 2 to 14 years of age. 

Booster seats have proven to significantly reduce the number of car accident injuries and fatalities among children, and according to National Highway Traffic Safety Association’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, the numbers have been steadily declining since 1997. Correct installation and proper use of booster seats can help to reduce the numbers further, and keep our children safe.

In North Carolina, the law states that children must use booster seats until they are 8 years old and weigh at least 80 pounds. The penalty for not having your child properly restrained is $25. This, of course, is no comparison to the price that would be paid if a child were found unrestrained at the time of an accident.

The North Carolina Child Passenger Safety Law can be viewed here.

 

A short summary of the law can be viewed here.

 

For Frequently Asked Questions about the NC Child Passenger Safety Law, go here.

 

If your child has been injured in a car accident or as a result of a faulty booster seat, please call the law offices of D. Hardison Wood at 1-877-829-7211.

 

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Even Flo Recall

Approximately 3728 Even Flo First Choice Infant Restraint systems, model 3604098, are being recalled. They were manufactured between January and September 2009. They fail to meet the federal requirements for labels on child restraint systems. As with all child restraints systems, there are required labels that must remain on the restraint seat always. Those labels must include information to register the seat, NHTSA information, and certification the seat complies with federal safety standards.

If your child has been injured due to a failed child restraint system, please contact our office to discuss your matter.

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.

VOLKSWAGEN IS RECALLING CERTAIN MODEL YEAR 2006 THROUGH 2010 AUDI A3, TT, AND TT ROADSTER PASSENGER VEHICLES MANUFACTURED BETWEEN SEPTEMBER 29, 2005 AND AUGUST 26, 2009. THE CLOSING FORCE OF AN INTERNAL SPRING OF THE FUEL TANK VENTILATION VALVE IS NOT ADEQUATE ENOUGH TO HOLD THE VALVE CLOSED UNDER EXTREME DRIVING CONDITIONS POSSIBLY ALLOWING FUEL TO LEAK.

 

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.

Used Car Database

A new database will be launched Friday allowing consumers a place to search out whether a used car they are thinking of purchasing has been in a wreck and rebuil, had fire and been repaired, been stolen or other information.

 A federal database that will allow car buyers to learn whether a vehicle has been stolen or rebuilt after a wreck will be launched on Friday – more than 16 years after Congress passed a law requiring its creation, and a year after three safety groups sued the federal government to force it to act.

This database goes online January 30 in large part to a lawsuit brought by Public Citizen and two other consumer groups. However, it appears there are still more than a dozen states that are refusing to comply which leaves the database incomplete.

Last year, Public Citizen, joined by Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS) and Consumer Action, sued the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in federal court in San Francisco, asking the court to order the government to implement the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System. In September, the court told the DOJ it had until Jan. 30 to make the information available on the Internet and to issue a rule requiring states, insurance companies and junk yards to report safety information.

 

Currently, 10 states are not reporting vehicle data at all, while two states that are – New York and California – are attempting to prevent public access to that data. The data will be available through third-party Web sites, which will charge a nominal fee per record search.  View the full story here

We have helped numerous clients who have been victims of auto fraud and products liability. It would be a great start to enable consumers and give them a place to research a vehicle before putting their lives in jeopardy.

If you have been a victim of fraud or products liability and would like to discuss your matter with our firm, please do not hesitate to contact us at 919-677-0144.

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.

 

We, at the firm,  are advocates for 5 point harness booster seats - while these booster seats referenced in the story utilize the car's seat belt, they merely deal with the the height issue and prop the child up higher to position the belt properly. They do not account for the weight of the child. Car seat belts are made for a minimum weight - usually much heavier than the average 4-6 year old. 

Also, make sure to check your state laws regarding the age AND weight requirements for children and child restraints in your state.

Hipmonkey.com

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. 

More Potential Car Fires Leads to Recall

Car fires are much more common that some may think. And frankly, quite often, there is truly a defect in the automobile that caused them. This time the recall involves more GM cars. According to the report GM is recalling 857,735 vehicles, including

2007-2008 model year Chevrolet Silverado, Tahoe, Avalanche and Suburban, Cadillac Escalade, Escalade ESV and Escalade EXT, GMC Acadia, Sierra, Yukon, Yukon XL and Saturn Outlook; 2006-2008 Hummer H2, Cadillac DTS and Buick Lucerne; and the 2008 Buick Enclave

According to the report, federal safety regulators said there was a potential for a short circuit in the wiper system which could lead to electrical malfunctions, smoke or raise the potential for a car fire.


In  another GM recall...

88,809 2008-model year Buick Enclave, and 2007-2008 model year GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook SUVs in 28 states and Washington, D.C

are being recalled. That recall is due to the fact a buildup of snow and ice can cause a restriction in the windshield wiper movement and cause the motor to detach from the windshield arm.

If you have been hurt by a product defect in your automobile, the Law Office of D. Hardison Wood would like to discuss your matter with you.

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. The notice is as follows:
Summary:
 NISSAN IS RECALLING 180,664 MY 2005-2006 TITAN, ARMADA AND INFINITY QX56 VEHICLES MANUFACTURED AFTER MARCH 17, 2005, THAT ARE EQUIPPED WITH A VISTEON AIR CONDITIONING CONDENSER FAN MOTOR. THE FAN MOTOR MAY NOT BE PROPERLY SEALED ALLOWING EXCESSIVE WATER INTRUSION AND INADEQUATE DRAINAGE OF MOISTURE.
Consequence:
 THIS COULD CAUSE CORROSION IN THE MOTOR LEADING POSSIBLY TO OVERHEATING AND A FIRE.
Remedy:
 DEALERS WILL INSTALL A 'THERMAL PROTECTOR KIT' AND TEST THE AIR CONDITIONING CONDENSER FAN MOTOR AND REPLACE IT IF NECESSARY. THE RECALL IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN NEAR THE END OF JULY 2008. OWNERS MAY CONTACT NISSAN AT 1-800-647-7261.

Car Seat Recall

Chicco, USA has recalled the bases to approximately 18,000 of their infant rear-facing car seats.
Here are the  details found on the Office of Defects Investigations website:
  
Component: CHILD SEAT:BASE (INFANT)
Potential Number Of Units Affected : 18000
Summary:
 CHICCO USA, INC. IS RECALLING APPROXIMATELY 18,000 BASES USED IN KEYFIT AND KEYFIT 30 REAR-FACING CHILD RESTRAINT SYSTEMS AND IN CORTINA TRAVEL SYSTEMS, AND STAND-ALONE BASES FOR THESE SYSTEMS PURCHASED SEPARATELY, THAT WERE MANUFACTURED BETWEEN FEBRUARY 26 AND MARCH 17, 2008. SOME OF THESE BASES HAVE A DEFECT THAT CAN PREVENT THE BASE FROM BEING TIGHTLY SECURED TO A VEHICLE WHEN THE LOWER LATCH ATTACHMENTS ARE USED AS A METHOD OF INSTALLATION. SPECIFICALLY, WHEN A DEFECTIVE BASE IS INSTALLED WITH THE LOWER LATCH ATTACHMENT STRAPS, THE WEBBING USED TO TIGHTEN THE BASE TO THE VEHICLE SEAT CAN SLIP THROUGH THE ADJUSTMENT LOCK.
Consequence:
 IF THE WEBBING WERE TO SLIP DURING A VEHICLE CRASH, THE BASE COULD MOVE, POSSIBLY INCREASING THE RISK OF INJURY.
If you have a car seat that may be affected by this recall:  
CUSTOMERS MAY CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY: 1-800-424-9153); OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV.

Vehicle Recalls

Below are a few  safety defect and non compliance notices received in the month of May 2008. The entire report may be accessed here.
False Park:
    GM IS RECALLING 26 MY 2008 SATURN VUE VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH A 6T70 6-SPEED AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION. SOME OF THESE VEHICLES HAVE A CONDITION IN WHICH THE TRANSMISSION CASE SIDE BORE THAT HOLDS THE PARK PAWL PIVOT PIN MAY HAVE A CASTING POROSITY. THIS CONDITION, COUPLED WITH NORMAL OPERATING STRESSES, COULD LEAD TO FAILURE, ELIMINATING THE ABILITY TO SECURE THE TRANSMISSION IN 'PARK' POSITION.

Brake Failure:
   
CHRYSLER IS RECALLING 1,585 MY 2007-2008 JEEP WRANGLER, RIGHT HAND DRIVE ONLY, VEHICLES. SOME VEHICLES MAY HAVE INSUFFICIENT CLEARANCE BETWEEN THE STEERING INTERMEDIATE SHAFT AND REAR BRAKE TUBES. Consequence:
 PROLONGED BRAKE TUBE CONTACT COULD WEAR A HOLE IN THE TUBE AND CAUSE A PARTIAL BRAKE SYSTEM LOSS. THIS COULD CAUSE A CRASH WITHOUT WARNING.


Engine Bolt:
VOLVO IS RECALLING 102 MY 2008 XC90 AND S80 VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH V8 ENGINES. THESE VEHICLES MAY HAVE BEEN BUILT WITH INCORRECT BOLTS TO THE ENGINE MOUNT.Consequence:
 THE ALUMINUM BRACKET FOR THE ENGINE MOUNT COULD BREAK DUE TO LACK OF ADEQUATE CLAMPING FORCE. THIS COULD CAUSE THE ENGINE TO COME IN CONTACT WITH THE SUB-FRAME, ULTIMATELY RESULTING IN A REDUCED ENGINE TORQUE OR STALLING OF THE ENGINE WITHOUT PRIOR WARNING, INCREASING THE RISK OF A CRASH.

These are just a few examples of the  vehicle recalls  in the month  of May,  there  were many more.we  encourage you to read the entire report.

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.




Kyle David Miller Foundation - Car Seat Safety

Our children and their  safety is something about which we care deeply. That is why our law firm involves itself in various types of litigation involving child safety. Awhile back we were touched by a video we saw on youtube about a young boy, Kyle David Miller (see here). He unfortunately was killed in a car crash. He was not in a five point harness, but rather a booster seat which utilized the car's seat belt. When we personally saw the video, our family was driven to find a booster seat for our children that had a five point harness. We realized that the booster seat we were using, which used our car's seat belt, was not securing our children the way they needed. We have since learned that there has been a foundation set up in  memory of Kyle which collects money in order to buy 5 point harness seats for children up to 80 lbs. who otherwise would not have access to them. Check  out the video and website to learn more  about the foundation. 

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
 
EVENFLO IS RECALLING 1,000,000 MODELS 390, 391, 534, AND 552 DISCOVERY CAR SEATS OR ASSOCIATED TRAVEL SYSTEMS MANUFACTURED FROM APRIL 2005 THROUGH JANUARY 2008. IN RECENT LABORATORY TESTS CONDUCTED BY EVENFLO AND NHTSA TO EVALUATE THE PERFORMANCE OF THESE SEATS IN HIGH IMPACT SIDE COLLISIONS, IT WAS REVEALED THAT THE CAR SEAT COULD POTENTIALLY BECOME SEPARATED FROM ITS BASE UNDER THESE CONDITIONS.
 
SERIOUS INJURY OR DEATH COULD RESULT IF THE CAR SEAT BECAME SEPARATED FROM ITS BASE.
 
EVENFLO WILL NOTIFY REGISTERED OWNERS AND PROVIDE A FREE SUPPLEMENTAL DUAL-HOOK FASTENER TO ENSURE THAT THE CAR SEAT REMAINS ATTACHED TO ITS BASE IN A HIGH IMPACT SIDE COLLISION SIMILAR TO THOSE IN THE RECENT TESTS. THE RECALL IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN DURING FEBRUARY 2008. TO OBTAIN THE FREE FASTENER, OWNERS SHOULD CALL EVENFLO AT 1-800-356-2229 BETWEEN 8 AM AND 5 PM EST OR ORDER ONLINE AT THEIR WEBSITE AT WWW.EVENFLO.COM/DISCOVERY.
 
EVENFLO HAS NOT MADE A DECISION THAT THESE UNITS CONTAIN A SAFETY RELATED DEFECT, HOWEVER EVENFLO WILL PROVIDE A FREE SUPPLEMENTAL DUAL-HOOK FASTENER. CUSTOMERS MAY ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV.

Cruise Control Issues

If you have a Ford please take note. The National Highway Safety Administration announced certain Ford vehicles pose a fire risk due to malfunctioning cruise controls.

WASHINGTON -- The National Highway Safety Administration today urged owners of more than 4 million unrepaired Ford Motor Co. vehicles that are at risk of fire because of a defective cruise control deactivation switch to "immediately" get it fixed.

The Detroit News reported Monday that Ford won't have an adequate supply of parts to repair trucks and vans until June.

Ford has urged owners to take vehicles into dealerships to get their cruise control deactivated as an interim fix until it has enough parts on hand to fix the cruise control.

Ford expanded its recall by 3.6 million vehicles last August, but NHTSA has continued to receive complaints of fires -- about 60 since then.

In a statement, NHTSA said: "Many dealers will perform this as a 'drive through' service so owners do not have to leave their vehicles at the dealership or schedule an appointment in advance. Failure to have the switch disconnected could lead to a vehicle fire at any time, whether or not the key is in the ignition, and whether or not owners use the cruise control system. The safety agency said the fire danger is present regardless of the age of the vehicle, and could even occur while the vehicle is parked and unattended."

Ford has had seven separate recalls since 1999 of a total of 9.6 million vehicles, including 220,000 vehicles re-recalled earlier this month.

Combined, the campaigns represent one of the largest recalls in U.S. history.

The $21 Texas Instruments switches were installed in 16 million Ford vehicles over a decade before the automaker stopped using them in 2002.


The switches have been linked to nearly 550 vehicle fires and 1,500 complaints. Ford faces more than 125 lawsuits around the country.

The switch is used to deactivate a vehicle's cruise control when a driver taps the brake pedal. Most of the suits allege fires began well after the vehicles were turned off.

In many cases, insurance companies initially paid for damage to homes in fires that the owners claim were sparked by Ford vehicles, and then the insurers sued Ford to try to recoup their losses.

Only a few cases involving the faulty switches have gone to trial, among them one in South Carolina. A jury in March 2007 awarded a couple $3.5 million, including $3 million in punitive damages over a house fire allegedly set by a 2000 Ford Expedition. That case is under appeal.


If you have been affected by such a product defect and would like to discuss your situation please contact our firm.

GM Fires

We have been hearing about and have been contacted about  car fires. Now it appears the government is investigating fires in certain GM SUVs.
The government is investigating reports of engine fires in General Motors’ full-size sport utility vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has received two reports of fires on 2007 model year Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs.
Both reports allege that the vehicles were parked in a home garage with the engine shut off when the fires occurred, causing significant property damage.
The investigation, which also includes the 2007 GMC Yukon SUV, involves about 423,000 SUVs. Read the article

Nissan Recalls

We are currently investigating Nissan recalls involving 2005 and 2006 production years for the Altima and Sentra models. This recall is obviously very interesting.

TOKYO, Nov 22, 2007; Chang-Ran Kim writing for Reuters reported that Japan's Nissan Motor Co said on Thursday it will recall 713,986 Altima and Sentra cars in North America, mostly in the United States, because their engines may suddenly stop running.

Affected models are 2002 and 2005-2006 Altimas and Sentras with 2.5-litre engines. The crankshaft position sensor can overheat and briefly stop sending signals, possibly causing the engine to stop.

Nissan filed a recall of 622,634 Altimas and 28,373 Sentras in the United States, a spokeswoman in Tokyo said. The rest were sold in Canada and Mexico.

Anyone who may have had an issue with these automobiles, please feel free to contact us.

Chrysler Recalls Dodge Vans and Trucks

On Friday, almost 600,000 Dodge vans and trucks were recalled due to the cars shifting out of park without the  key in  the ignition. As the  following report states - use the parking brake at all times.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- -- Chrysler said Friday it is recalling nearly 600,000 Dodge trucks and vans to address concerns that the vehicles could shift out of park without the key in the ignition.

The recall affects 576,417 2001-2002 Dodge Dakota trucks, Dodge Durango sport utility vehicles and Dodge Ram vans and the 2002 Dodge Ram pickup. In some cases, long-term wear on the gearshift assembly could erode the height of the shift blocker, creating the potential for the vehicle to shift out of park.

Chrysler spokesman Max Gates said there have been nine incidents involving injuries connected to the issue. No fatalities have been reported, he said in an e-mail.

Owners will be notified beginning in January 2008 and dealers will replace the gearshift blocker and bracket assembly.

In the interim, vehicle owners are advised to use the parking brake at all times when the vehicle is not in use, Gates said.

Car Seat Mistakes

I came across a new site  that discusses common mistakes made with car seats...With such an important child safety issue, we felt it important to post some of the information here.

Most parents understand the importance of putting their children in car seats, especially their younger kids, but reports still show that 80% of kids aren't secured correctly in a car seat.

Among the easiest mistakes to avoid is to just make sure that your child is in the correct car seat for his age and that he is facing the right direction.

  • Infants should be in a rear facing infant only seat or convertible seat until they are 1 year old AND twenty pounds. Children who reach twenty pounds before their first birthday still need to face backwards and can be moved into a rear facing convertible seat. Smaller infants who don't reach 20 pounds until after their first birthday should also continue to face backwards. This is more a minimum though. Many people advocate continuing to sit toddlers rear facing in a convertible seat until they outgrow it for added safety.
  • After they are twenty pounds and have passed their first birthday, toddlers can use a forward facing car seat (either a convertible, combination or forward facing seat) until they are about 40 pounds.
  • Children over forty pounds should be placed into a belt positioning booster seat (either a combination seat or booster seat) and they will usually stay in it until they are at least 8 years old.
  • You should not use your car's regular seat belts until they fit correctly when your child is about 80 pounds and is 4ft 9 inches tall. Remember that your child will not be ready to use regular seat belts until the shoulder strap fits across his shoulder and not his neck, and the lap belt fits across his hips and not his stomach.
  • All children under 12 years of age should be placed in the back seat of the car, especially if you have passenger side air bags.
Read the entire article here. While car seat litigation is on the rise for those car seats that do fail to keep children safe during accidents, it is important as parents that we take the time to learn which car seat is the right fit for our child as well as the proper way to secure  them.

Car Seat vs. Booster Seat

Recently, I overheard a conversation which reminded me about the importance of this question of car seat versus a booster seat.  As I waited for my daughter during one of her after school activities I heard  a group of mothers and fathers discussing the fact that they were switching their children to the booster seats that use the car's seat belt rather than a five  point harness.  They were discussing that this was a change they needed to make because when they pick their children up from school through the car  pool lane, it is  too difficult to find a  place to park the car, get out and buckle their children into their five point harnessed car seats.  (The car pool lane is utilized by most preschools and schools where we live.  Basically, the  parents line up in their vehicles, and the children are called up as their  parent's vehicle approaches.  The child gets in and the parent drives off).  They were talking about how much easier it  is  now that their children can get in and  buckle themselves.  We had thought the same  thing, putting  our daughter in one of those boosters, until we  learned about the number of children who are either injured or die in crashes because they slipped out of their booster seat/seat belt because, those  lap/shoulder belts in the cars (the  ones used in conjunction with the booster seats) are made for people with  a minimum weight  of 80-100lbs. We switched back to a booster  seat with a five point harness. We just taught our daughter how to buckle herself into her harness.  So we  can go through the  car pool lane  with no  issue. It truly is a huge safety issue that parents should be aware of before switching car seats. The following video is  just  another reminder:

2007 Toyota Tacoma Under Investigation

There have been a number of cases where there has been unexplained acceleration when the drivers have said they had hit the brakes.  
A nationwide investigation by the Channel 4 I-team found complaints about the 2007 Toyota Tacoma that included mysterious acceleration even when drivers said they hit the brakes.

Channel 4 found a growing number of drivers who have had problems with the vehicle, which has prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to start conducting tests on the model.
Of course the initial  reaction  on the car company's  part would be want to  blame it on driver error.  But of important  note :
But even Toyota found a problem unrelated to driver error in other models. During the course of this Channel 4 investigation, Toyota announced an equipment recall for "all weather floor mats" in the 2007 and 2008 Camry and Lexus 350 automobiles. Toyota said that those floor mats could come loose and slip onto the gas pedal.
As this story says, many drivers will never even report the problem, and simply get rid of the truck.  It is important  that if  there is an issue with the  vehicle, it be reported, not just forgotten. The reports are necessary to ensure a thorough investigation occurs in order to remedy the situation if there truly is a product defect.
Read the entire story.

Daimlerchrysler Recall

Daimlerchrysler issued a recall for certain 2007 Doge Rams.

Component: POWER TRAIN:DRIVELINE:DRIVESHAFT
Potential Number Of Units Affected : 1498
Summary:
 ON CERTAIN TWO WHEEL DRIVE TRUCKS EQUIPPED WITH MANUAL TRANSMISSIONS, THE FRONT DRIVESHAFT YOKE MAY BREAK UNDER CERTAIN DRIVING CONDITIONS.
Consequence:
 THIS COULD RESULT IN A LOSS OF VEHICLE CONTROL AND CAUSE A CRASH WITHOUT WARNING.
Remedy:
 DEALERS WILL REPLACE THE DRIVESHAFT FREE OF CHARGE. THE RECALL IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN DURING SEPTEMBER 2007. OWNERS MAY CONTACT DAIMLERCHRYSLER AT 1-800-853-1403.
Notes:
 DAIMLERCHRYSLER RECALL NO. G32. CUSTOMERS MAY ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV.

Inspection Stations

Car seat installation can seem daunting.  If you are unsure about the installation of  your child's car seat,  please have it inspected...better safe than  sorry.  Click here for a link to find an inspection station near you.

Britax Child Seat Recall

Here is yet another child seat recall report.  What is most disturbing is that Britax has in the past seemed to have a better reputation for their car seats.
Summary:
 CERTAIN BRITAX MARATHON CHILD RESTRAINT SYSTEMS, MODELS E9L06, E9W06, AND E906, MANUFACTURED FROM MAY 23 THROUGH JULY 28, 2006. DURING TESTING, THE TETHER HOOK OPENED WHICH FAILS TO CONFORM TO THE DYNAMIC PERFORMANCE AND CHILD RESTRAINT SYSTEM INTEGRITY REQUIREMENTS OF FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 213, CHILD RESTRAINT SYSTEMS.
Consequence:
 THE MANUFACTURER HAS NOT YET PROVIDED THE AGENCY WITH A DESCRIPTION OF THE CONSEQUENCE AS IT RELATES TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY.
Remedy:
 BRITAX HAS NOT YET PROVIDED THE AGENCY WITH A REMEDY AND NOTIFICATION SCHEDULE.
Notes:
 CUSTOMERS MAY CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY: 1-800-424-9153); OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV.

Car Seat Installation

Ever wondered if you have installed your child's car seat correctly?    This site provides many details and  graphics that may be useful when installing a car seat.  It also has many safety tips, general usage information, and things  to  remember. A couple of  important  notes, make sure that the seat belt is securely around your child, not twisted, or  loose, or too high and certainly not under  his or her arm. In addition, if your car seat is involved in a car accident, you should not reuse it.

Booster Seats

Booster seat versus car seat...what a dilemma. I had bought a  booster seat for our  daughter...one of the seats that utilizes the car's seat buckle.  We figured she is  five years old, most of the children in her class were using booster seats, and she meets the height  and  weight requirements for the seat.  But every time I would look in my rear view mirror, and the car was making even the  slightest of turns...there she  was moving  around...the seat essentially not doing  anything to protect her.  Then I saw this video, and realized that my worries were not unfounded.
  Seat belts first off do not always work, they do come unlatched, and they also fail. Secondly, seat belts are made for an average sized person of at least 80-100 pounds...certainly not made for a child who is between 30 and 40 pounds. We started researching more, and learned the number of children who fall victim to this every day.We quickly replaced our booster seat with a five point, tethered booster seat.  The one  we chose can be found here. At least now when I look back at her in my rear view mirror I see her in her seat, staying in one place.