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BOOSTER SEATS ARE EVALUATED BY IIHS

Posted on Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 at 1:41 pm    

NBC recently reported on results of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) evaluation of 41 new models of child booster seats available in 2014. Child booster seats typically refers to seats designed to provide protection for 4 to 8 year olds while traveling in a car, minivan or SUV. Unlike child restraints with built-in harnesses, booster seats rely upon the motor vehicle’s seat belts to restrain children.

According to the NBC report, all but 3 of the booster seats tested by the IIHS were recommended for use. The Institute gives booster seats a rating of Best Bet, Good Bet, Check Fit or Not Recommended. The analysis by IIHS involves measuring how three point lap belts and shoulder belts fit a child test dummy seated in the device. However, the evaluations don’t involve actual crash testing.

The three booster seats which were not recommended by the IIHS according to the NBC article were:

– Diono Olympia (high back)
– Diono Pacifica (high back)
– Kids Embrace Batman No Back Booster (backless)

The IIHS notes that in addition to choosing a good booster seat it is also important to make sure that you use the booster seat properly.

For more information regarding which booster seats received a rating of best bet and guidance regarding the proper use of a booster seat see the IIHS website at www.IIHS.org.

According to the Pennsylvania State Police website the State Police will provide direction and assistance regarding the proper use of booster seats and car seats at their barracks. You can find information on this valuable service by going to the official Pennsylvania State Police website at www.psp.pa.gov or www.psp.state.pa.us/

Source: Best Booster Seats for Your Child’s Ride: www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/best-booster-seats-your-childs-ride-n243171 and appearing on the NBC Nightly News on November 6, 2014.

TIPS FOR LAWN MOWER SAFETY

Posted on Thursday, June 25th, 2015 at 1:56 pm    

Mowing the lawn can be a very dangerous chore. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 250,000 people were treated for lawn mower-related injuries in 2010 and nearly 17,000 of them were children under the age of 19.

Here are a few safety tips offered by the American Academy of Pediatrics to help avoid lawn mower injuries:

• Thoroughly inspect the area to be mowed before mowing begins. Remove all stones, sticks, wire, bones, toys and any other objects that might be tripped over or picked up and thrown by the blade.
• Child Safety: Do not allow children to ride as passengers on ride-on mowers and keep children out of the yard while mowing.
• Keep the lawn mower in good working order. When using a lawn mower for the first time in a season, be sure to have it serviced to make sure it is in good working order.
• Only use a mower with a control that stops the blade from moving if the handle is let go. Do not pull the mower back towards you while you are walking.
• Always wear safety glasses or safety goggles during operation and while making adjustments or repairs to the equipment.
• Always turn off the mower and wait for the blades to stop completely before removing the grass catcher, unclogging the discharge chute, inspecting or repairing lawn mower equipment or crossing gravel paths, roads, or other areas.
• Use a broom handle or stick (not your hands or feet) to remove debris from your lawn mower.
• Dress appropriately. Wear sturdy, rough-soled work shoes and close-fitting slacks and shirts. Never operate your mower in bare feet, sandals, sneakers or other slippery or light-weight shoes.
• Children should be at least 12 years of age before operating a push mower, and at least 16 to operate a driving lawn mower.
• Drive up and down slopes, not across slopes, to prevent mower rollover.

Mower manufacturer TroyBilt also suggests that you plan your mowing in such a way to avoid discharge of material towards roads, sidewalks, bystanders and the like. And since many injuries occur as a result of the mower being pulled over a foot during a fall caused by slipping or tripping, do not hold onto the mower if you are falling, release the handle immediately. This should cause the engine to stop and the blade to cease spinning.

Source: Article appearing at www.aap.org entitled Mowing the Lawn Can Be a Dangerous Chore and an article entitled Push Mower Safety Tips appearing at www.troybilt.com.

For additional information see: www.aaos.org or www.orthoinfo.org.

FIAT CHRYSLER ADMITS IT WAS LATE ON FIVE RECALLS

Posted on Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015 at 3:26 pm    

In a recent filing with NHTSA, Fiat Chrysler (FCA) admitted that it was late in notifying customers of five safety recall campaigns. This acknowledgement came in response to NHTSA’s request for documents from Fiat Chrysler regarding the recalls. NHTSA has scheduled hearings to investigate “foot dragging” by Fiat Chrysler on 20 recalls affecting approximately 11 million Chrysler vehicles.

According to an article appearing in USA Today, FCA has filed 5 million documents in an effort to fulfill the government’s request in preparation of the hearings scheduled for July 2nd.

FCA has argued that the company has been active enough in its recall effort to warrant cancelling the scheduled hearing. However, a NHTSA spokesman says that the hearing will proceed as scheduled.

In general, NHTSA has been critical of the auto industry’s handling of recalls. General Motors is currently under criminal investigation for not acting on its deadly ignition switches for more than a decade.

The Law Office Of Bill Pelhan has been representing victims of unsafe or defective products for over 25 years. If you or a loved one has been injured by an unsafe product call 717-392-6362 to learn more about your legal rights and options. Get the personal attention you deserve.

Source: An article appearing at USA.com entitled Fiat Chrysler says it was late on five recalls by Alisa Priddle and Chris Woodyard on June 4, 2015.

TIPS TO INSURE SAFE SUMMER TRAVEL

Posted on Friday, June 19th, 2015 at 2:12 pm    

As we head into the summer season, more and more people are taking vacations, weekend trips, or just hitting the road in general. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) encourages motorists to take these simple steps to insure a safe, summer travel season:

1. Regular Maintenance:
If your vehicle has been serviced according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, it should be in good shape and ready to travel. If not, NHTSA recommends that you schedule a preventive care maintenance check-up before you travel.

2. Don’t Drink and Drive:
According to NHTSA, every 52 minutes someone is killed in a drunk driving crash.

3. Buckle Up:
Research has shown that the use of seat belts reduces the risk of a fatal injury to a front seat passenger by 45 percent and the risk of a moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent. So, be sure to wear your seat belt.

4. Protect Child Passengers:
Child safety seats reduce the risk of a fatal injury to infants by 71 percent. For toddlers it is 51 percent. Also, keep in mind that all children 13 years or younger should be in the back seat.

5. Avoid Distractions:
NHTSA estimates that distractions account for approximately 10 percent of all fatal crashes. Other estimates are even higher. You should avoid any activity that takes your attention away from driving including, cellphone use, texting, eating, etc. while driving.

6. “Move Over” Laws:
All 50 states now have “move over” and change lane laws to give safe clearance to law enforcement officers assisting motorists on the side of the road.

Source: An article appearing at nhtsa.gov entitled Consumer Adivsory: NHTSA encourages motorists to be prepared before heading out on summer road trips.

FEDS PRESSURE CHRYSLER ON JEEP RECALLS

Posted on Monday, June 15th, 2015 at 1:46 pm    

NHTSA recently announced that in July it will begin public hearings to investigate whether or not Fiat Chrysler has failed to properly carry out 20 recalls involving approximately 10 million vehicles. NHTSA has ordered Fiat Chrysler to provide documents and other information regarding recall performance by June 1, 2015.

This latest action by NHTSA appears to be part of an ongoing fued between NHTSA and Fiat Chrysler regarding the pace of its recall repairs. In particular, regulators have expressed concern about the repair rate on a recall of 1.56 million Jeep Liberty and Grand Cherokee SUVs regarding rear mounted gas tanks which can catch fire if struck from the rear. According to a report in USA Today, although Fiat Chrysler agreed to the recall of the Jeeps in June 2013, it has only repaired about 21% of the defective vehicles.

Mark Rosekind, Administrator at NHTSA stated that “It is not enough to identify defects. Manufacturers have to fix them.” Rosekind went on to state that NHTSA was not only concerned about the pace of Chrysler’s recall and repair of the defective Jeeps, but of several other recalls being conducted by Chrysler involving potentially dangerous defects such as defective Takata airbags.

Source: Article appearing in USA Today entitled Feds probe Fiat Chrysler recalls by Chris Woodyard on May 19, 2015.

TAKATA AGREED TO MASSIVE RECALL OF AIRBAGS

Posted on Friday, June 12th, 2015 at 2:37 pm    

Recently, Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata acknowledged that its airbags are defective and agreed to double the number of vehicles being recalled in the United States to approximately 34 million. This amounts to 1 in 7 of the more than 250 million vehicles on American roads making it the largest automotive recall in American history.

Mark Rosekind, the Administrator of NHTSA noted that this is the largest recall we know of and that the recall will take years to complete given that this is an enormously complex situation.

Mr. Rosekind stated that “From the very beginning, our goal has been simple: a safe airbag in every vehicle.”

According to the New York Times and other articles following this matter, the Takata airbags are defective because they can explode violently when they deploy sending shrapnel flying into the car passenger compartment. So far six deaths and more than one hundred injuries have been linked to the defect.

While acknowledging that the recall repairs could take several years to complete, Mr. Rosekind stated that people could continue to drive their cars in the meantime, but should be checking with their dealers often to make sure the defective airbags are replaced as soon as possible.

In response to Takata’s announcement, a 26 year old man from Florida, who was blinded in one eye as a result of shrapnel from a Takata airbag told a Times reporter “It’s depressing because this could happen to someone else.”

Source: Article appearing at NYTimes.com entitled Airbag Recall Widens to 34 Million Cars as Takata Admits Defects by Danielle Ivory and Hiroko Tabuchi on May 19, 2015.

GRACO PAYS $10 MILLION FOR DELAY IN RECALL OF CHILD SEATS

Posted on Tuesday, June 9th, 2015 at 1:35 pm    

According to an article appearing in LNP, car seat manufacturer Graco has agreed to a $10 million dollar settlement with NHTSA for its failure to promptly recall approximately 4 million child seats with a defective buckle that potentially made it difficult to free a child in an emergency. Seven million dollars of the settlement will be spent developing safety programs and $3 million will be a civil fine.

In January 2014, NHTSA demanded a recall. Initially Graco refused, but approximately one month later agreed to the recall.

An investigation by federal regulators disclosed that Graco was receiving complaints about the buckles as early as 2009. The investigation revealed that in 2012 Graco was telling parents how to clean the buckles, arguing that there was no safety issue. However, some parents told federal regulators they had to cut the straps to free a child from the seat. Ultimately, regulators dismissed Graco’s argument that the only problem with the buckle was that children were spilling food and drinks on them, which made the buckle to be difficult to open.

In imposing the fine, regulators rejected Graco’s excuse stating that children spilling food and drinks on the buckles was foreseeable. Federal regulations mandate that once a manufacturer is aware of a safety problem it has five business days to inform NHTSA for its plan for a recall.

Source: An article entitled Graco to pay $10 million for delay in child-seat recall by Christopher Jensen of the New York Times appearing in the LNP on Sunday, March 22, 2015.

DISTRACTED DRIVING – PARENTS AS ROLE MODELS

Posted on Friday, June 5th, 2015 at 1:39 pm    

In general, very few parents realize what a strong influence they have on their teen’s driving habits. According to research by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute and Toyota, teens’ driving habits are influenced far more by what they see their parents do than what their parents say.

Taking note of this fact, Toyota has undertaken a campaign to help parents become good role models for their teen drivers. As part of this effort, Toyota has set up a website to provide parents and new drivers with advice and guidance for safe driving habits at Toyota’s TeenDrive365 site.

In addition to finding safe driving tips and advice at this site, you will also find several videos of families’ efforts to impart good driving habits to teen drivers. Toyota is also offering programs at some local Toyota dealers designed to teach teen drivers good driving practices. More information regarding when these programs are available can be found at the Toyota TeenDrive365 site.

Additionally, Toyota recently posted an article at NYTimes.com alerting parents about the tremendous influence they have on their children’s driving habits. Perhaps the most important bit of information contained in this article is that it is parents’ driving behaviors are observed by children at very young ages and these observations make strong impressions on children as to what is acceptable driving habits long before they get to drive themselves.

If you’ve suffered injuries in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, contact the Law Office of Bill Pelhan today by calling 717-392-6362 to learn more about how you can fight for the compensation you need.

Source: Distracted Parent, Distracted Teen (Paid Post by Toyota From NYTimes.com) see http://paidpost.nytimes.com/Toyota/distracted-parent-distracted-teen.html

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT INVESTIGATING GUARDRAIL MAKER TRINITY INDUSTRIES

Posted on Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015 at 2:05 pm    

According to a New York Times article, the U.S. Justice Department has begun a criminal investigation of Trinity Industries and is looking at the company’s relationship with the Federal Highway Administration. The Times reports that at least five potential witness have been interviewed by investigators and a grand jury subpoena for documents has been issued.

Trinity is the manufacturer of the ET-Plus guardrail which is currently the subject of a NHTSA investigation. NHTSA is looking into whether or not changes made by Trinity to the guardrails in 2005 made the guardrails more likely to jam when hit head-on, thereby causing the metal rail to spear into the vehicle.

Although the full scope of the Justice Department investigation remains unclear, the Times reports that federal agents have been collecting information relating to the interactions of the Federal Highway Administration officials and Trinity before and after the Agency was first made aware of the previously undisclosed changes to the ET-Plus guardrail.

Source: An article entitled Guardrail Maker Is Said to Be Focus of U.S. Case by Aaron M. Kessler and Danielle Ivory in www.nytimes.com on April 22, 2015.