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Car Accidents Archives

Safety Advocate Takes On Guardrail Industry

Industry insider and safety advocate Joshua Harman talks with Bloomberg's Patrick Lee about a design flaw that causes highway guardrails to become deadly spears on impact.  To view the video on dangerous guardrails, click here: The ABC7 Investigative Team headed by reporter Chuck Goudie reported on Channel 7 in Chicago yesterday about a device that is supposed to protect drivers who hit guardrails head-on, but it may not work.  To view his investigative story, click here:

General Motors Settles Initial Case on Faulty Car Ignition Switches

As General Motors reportedly settled the first case that brought the world's attention to the problem of its car ignition switches, yet another case reportedly has been filed that is linked to this problem. GM Ignition Switch Linked to Another Death Jessica Taylor was driving home for Labor Day when her car left the road and flipped several times. Evidence surfaced last year that her car to the GM ignition switch failure that has already claimed 13 lives.   View video here: In the meantime, it has been reported that GM settled the case of a 29-year-old Georgia pediatric nurse who was killed due to the faulty ignition switches.   Terms of the settlement were not revealed. Kenneth Feinberg has been hired by GM to settle hundreds of cases that have been filed linked to this issue, according to ABC News. The ABC story reveals that GM has set aside $400 million in potential payouts to these victims and may have to pay as much as $600 million.

Some Interesting Numbers on Auto Recalls and Driving Safety

$175 Million A federal jury awarded $175 million to a whistle-blower who questioned the safety of thousands of Trinity guardrail end caps that may be impaling cars instead of slowing them down safely.
10 Makers Ten different automakers were listed in an October 2014 recall notice to replace defective Takata air bags, which have claimed five lives so far. A second urgent recall was also issued in January 2015.
60 Million More than 60 million vehicles were recalled in the United States last year, double the previous record in 2004. GM, Honda and Chrysler each set corporate recall records.

Recalls, Defects Dominate Automotive Headlines for 2014

For the automotive industry, 2014 was the year of the recall. You couldn't pick up a newspaper, turn on the evening news or check your favorite news site without hearing about another new and alarming recall. And unfortunately for car owners everywhere, recalls show no sign of letting up. What's even more concerning is a lapse by automakers and federal regulators in responding soon enough to reports of serious injury and death. Visit Fatal Flaws: Crisis in Auto Safety by The New York Times for an interactive overview of the issue.

Deadly Defects Problematic for the Auto Industry

Industry advocates and safety experts say the recalls are the culmination of years of mismanagement by manufacturers and the agencies that regulate them. Take Justice Back and the American Association of Justice (AAJ) have issued an updated report (download PDF) on the safety improvements made possible by an aggressive search for justice. However, problems still remain, as evidenced by the following examples: GM Ignition Switch Failure - GM's defective ignition switch has now resulted in more than 39 million recalls and at least 13 fatalities, although the death toll could go much higher. GM's failure to fix the known defect, at the cost of just $1 per car, led to an internal investigation, a $35 million fine from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), multiple congressional investigations and a victim's fund that attempts to put a dollar value on those lost. Many families are still fighting GM for hiding the defects. Takata Air Bags Accidentally Killing Some Drivers - The recall of air bags made by Japanese supplier Takata has affected 10 automotive manufacturers, more than 10 million vehicles in the U.S. and more than 20 million globally. The defective air bags can explode when inflated, shooting metal and plastic shrapnel at vehicle occupants. Five deaths have been linked to the defective air bags so far, and more than 130 others have been injured. Car and Driver magazine has a full list of affected vehicles here. Trinity Guardrails Impaling Vehicles - A jury in Texas recently found that Trinity Industries had defrauded the government by failing to disclose a design change in their guardrail end terminal. The case looked at allegations that the guardrail can malfunction when struck by the front end of a vehicle. According to an ABC News 20/20 investigation, "rather than ribboning out and absorbing the impact as designed, the guardrails 'locked up' and speared straight through the cars, severing the motorists' limbs in some cases." So far, more than 30 states have banned installation of the Trinity guardrail system. Ford Drivers Hit Off Switch Instead of Radio - Ford has recalled more than 13,000 vehicles over a design flaw that causes drivers to accidentally push the ignition switch instead of the radio touch-screen button, bringing the car to a sudden halt. No known accidents or injuries have been linked to the flaw, but Ford acknowledges that it poses a serious safety hazard.

Black Box Recovered in Maryland Plane Crash

The black box containing information regarding the plane crash in Gaithersburg, Maryland, has been recovered by National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators. Monday's (Dec. 8, 2014) crash left six people dead, including two small children, in the suburb of Washington, D.C. The black box contains the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder. Investigators also are reviewing a series of 911 calls that came in after the twin-engine Embraer EMB-500/Phenom 100 reportedly broke into pieces with fuselage crashing into a house and debris hitting two other adjacent homes on the cul-de-sac that also went up in flames. Senior Investigator Timothy LeBaron is leading the NTSB team at the scene. Some witnesses told the press they heard a "sputtering" before the plane went down. CNN is reporting that one of the persons aboard was Michael Rosenberg, CEO of a clinical development company who also happened to be a pilot. It is not yet known if that person was piloting this executive jet that has heading from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to Gaithersburg. Mr. Rosenberg was certified to fly that type of aircraft, according to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records. He also had a close call at that same airport in Maryland in 2010 when he was piloting a plane that left the runway, but he walked away from that incident, according to several media reports.

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