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USED CAR BUYERS SHOULD WATCH OUT FOR UNFIXED DEFECTS

Posted on Tuesday, September 29th, 2015 at 1:50 pm    

It was recently reported in an AP article that according to a study by Carfax, approximately 46 million cars and trucks recalled in the U.S. last year for safety defects were never repaired. And, almost 5 million of the unrepaired recalled vehicles were sold to new owners without the recall repair having been made.

According to the article, there is no legal requirement for dealers or individual sellers to get the recall repairs made before a used car is sold. Not only that, the AP article notes that such sellers of used vehicles are not even obligated to tell a buyer if the car is subject to a recall.

No one is sure how many crashes or injuries happen because of unheeded recalls. Several attempts to pass laws requiring dealers to fix recalled cars or disclose the problems have stalled because of opposition from carmakers, auto dealers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. However, Mark Rosekind, the head of NHTSA, and Secretary Anthony Foxx of the Department of Transportation are making another push for getting a law passed requiring such repairs or disclosures.

Mark Rosekind at NHTSA stated that “We cannot allow vehicles with potentially dangerous defects to leave used-car lots without the necessary repairs.”

Recently, an executive from Honda suggested requiring that recall repairs be made before license plates can be renewed. This idea is similar to the current practice in Germany where the government can revoke registrations of cars with outstanding recalls.

AutoNation, which is the largest dealership group in the U.S. states that it repairs recalled used cars before selling them when parts are available. However, if the parts are not available, it discloses that to the buyers and tells them of any danger. CarMax, which is the nation’s largest used-car dealership chain, states that it informs buyers of open recalls, but does not get the vehicles repaired.

AutoNation’s CEO Mike Jackson stated that he favors laws requiring disclosure noting that “The recall situation is a mess. It’s a disgrace and black eye for the industry.”

Source: AP article entitled Used cars often sold with unfixed defects, despite recalls appearing at www.foxnews.com on 02/24/2015.

HUMMERS RECALLED FOR POTENTIAL FIRE HAZARD

Posted on Friday, September 25th, 2015 at 2:03 pm    

GM recently announced that it is recalling almost 200,000 Hummer SUV’s because of an electrical problem that has resulted in two vehicles being destroyed by fires. According to an article in the New York Times, GM reported that an electrical part in the heating/ cooling system can overheat and cause a fire inside of the vehicle dashboard.

Furthermore, according to the article, NHTSA began receiving complaints about the problem in 2008 and GM states that there were 42 reported fires.

The recall includes Hummer H3 from the 2006 to 2010 model years and the H3T from model years 2009 through 2010.

You can obtain more information regarding this recall by going to GM’s website.

The consequences associated with using defective vehicles may potentially cause you financial, physical, and emotional harm. If you have been involved in an accident in Central Pennsylvania due to a defective product, a lawyer from the Law Office of Bill Pelhan may be able to help you hold its manufacturer accountable. Discuss your options in a free consultation by calling 717-392-6362.

Source: An article appearing in the New York Times on July 9, 2015 entitled Nearly 200,000 Hummers Recalled After Reports of Dashboard Fires.

IS VOLKSWAGEN THE NEXT TAKATA AIRBAG PROBLEM?

Posted on Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015 at 2:59 pm    

According to a recent article appearing in USA Today by Chris Woodyard, federal investigators are conducting an investigation to determine whether new airbags manufactured by Takata have the potential to discharge shrapnel when they deploy. Apparently, the event that has caught the attention of NHTSA is a June 7, 2015 collision between a 2015 Volkswagen Tiguan SUV and a deer in which the side airbags inflated with too much force. According to a related New York Times article, the airbag inflater exploded sending metal parts into the car’s cabin and the driver sustained minor injuries.

A spokesman for Volkswagen declined to say how many Volkswagen vehicles carry the Takata manufactured airbags. However, in its annual report, Takata lists Volkswagen as one of its top five customers by sales volume.

Source: An article entitled Exploding Takata air bag probe takes a new turn by Chris Woodyard appearing at USAtoday.com on August 20, 2015 and an article appearing in the New York Times on August 19, 2015 by Hiroko Tabuchi entitled U.S. Investigates Airbag Rupture in a Volkswagen.

DISTRACTED DRIVING ON THE RISE

Posted on Thursday, September 17th, 2015 at 1:55 pm    

In spite of more and more efforts to educate drivers about the dangers of distracted driving, a recent report by The New York Times indicates that distracted driving is on the rise.

According to the Times article, a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found an increase in the percent of drivers engaging in reading their email while driving from 2012 to 2014.

Perhaps even more alarming, a survey commissioned by AT&T found that drivers are finding more and more ways to become distracted including using Facebook, Twitter, and surfing the Internet while driving. In fact, a full 17% of drivers reported taking selfies while driving. Yet, the AAA survey reported that 84.4% of the drivers surveyed indicated that it was “completely unacceptable” to text and drive.

In an effort to explain the disconnect, the Times offered two possible explanations. First, our devices can feel irresistible. If not actually addictive, at least extremely habit forming. Second, drivers tend to overestimate their ability to multitask while driving even though they criticize others for doing it.

The Times article also noted that perhaps some lessons for curbing the distracting behavior can be drawn from the success in cutting sharply into drunk driving and increased seat belt use. These efforts relied upon a combination of public education and enforcement of tough laws. AT&T has invested heavily in a public service campaign designed to discourage distracted driving called “It Can Wait”.

At this point, it is hard to know whether or not programs modeled on past successful efforts to curb drunk driving can work for distracted driving. If early returns are any indication, it looks to be an uphill battle.

If you, or someone you know, sustained injuries in a motor vehicle collision in Central Pennsylvania, contact the Law Office of Bill Pelhan at 717-392-6362 to learn more about your rights and legal options.

Source: Article appearing at nytimes.com entitled Some People Do More Than Text While Driving by Matt Richtel on May 19, 2015.

NHTSA IMPOSES RECORD FINE AGAINST FIAT CHRYSLER

Posted on Tuesday, September 15th, 2015 at 1:48 pm    

NHTSA recently announced the imposition of a record fine on Fiat Chrysler (FCA) for its deficiencies in handling 23 recalls involving approximately 11 million of its vehicles. The fine was the result of an extensive investigation conducted by NHTSA culminating in a hearing following complaints by investigators about Fiat Chrysler’ slow production rate for replacement parts needed for recalls; misinformation to owners about recalls; difficulty in obtaining service appointments; and recall repairs that failed to adequately address the defect.

Regulators were particularly annoyed by the pace of FCA’s recall of 1.56 million Jeeps that had gas tanks prone to fires in rear-end collisions.

Mark Rosekind, the head of NHTSA, stated that Fiat Chrysler’s pattern of poor performance “put millions of its customers, and the driving public, at risk”. Furthermore, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx stated that as part of the deal, Fiat Chrysler will submit to “rigorous federal oversight” in the enforcement of the agreement.

Source: An article appearing in the LNP on July 27, 2015 entitled Fiat Chrysler faces $105M safety fine by Bill Vlasic of the New York Times and an article appearing at USAtoday.com on July 26, 2015 entitled Fiat Chrysler agrees to record $105M fine over safety by

LOCAL NURSING HOME QUALITY SCORES DROP UNDER NEW FEDERAL RATINGS

Posted on Thursday, September 10th, 2015 at 1:53 pm    

Under new standards recently adopted by Medicare, approximately one-third of the nation’s nursing homes are getting lower scores on the government’s five star quality rating. Among the changes on the new, revamped scale are assessments to measure the facilities use of anti-psychotic drugs, and more refined metrics for checking for adequate staffing.

According to Patrick Conway, the deputy administrator and chief medical officer at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the new scoring is “raising the standards for nursing homes to receive a high rating” and lower ratings for a particular facility “do not necessarily indicate a change in the care provided.”

A recent article in the LNP states that there was a slight downward shift in ratings among facilities in Lancaster County with fewer facilities earning the 4 and 5 star ratings. Of the 31 homes in the county, 11 now rate lower than they did last year, 8 rated higher and 12 remained at the same level. Garden Spot Village in New Holland and the Mennonite Home both dropped 2 stars from a 5 star to a 3 star rating and the Quarryville Presbyterian Retirement Community in Quarryville dropped from 5 star to 2 star rating. Several facilities in Lancaster County received a 1 star rating. Among those receiving a 1 star rating are the Golden Living Center of Lancaster, Susquehanna Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation Center of Columbia, Harrison Senior Living of Christiana and Manorcare Health Services of Lancaster.

For ratings information see the government’s Nursing Home Compare website.

Mr. Conway notes that the ratings are only one tool that consumers can use in evaluating nursing homes. He urges people to tap into other resources such as local long-term care ombudsmen and to get feedback from residents and their relatives and to be sure to visit the facility.

Source: An article appearing on USA.com entitled Nursing home quality scores drop in new federal ratings by Pete Eisler and Christopher Schnaars on February 20, 2015 and an article appearing in the LNP entitled Steeper curve: How Medicare’s rating changes affected Lancaster County nursing homes by Heather Stauffer.

GM RECALLS THOUSANDS OF POLICE CARS FOR DEFECTIVE SEAT BELTS

Posted on Tuesday, September 8th, 2015 at 2:16 pm    

General Motors recently announced that it is recalling approximately 47,000 Chevrolet Caprices, for the model years 2011 through 2013, and G8s for model years 2008 through 2009 to repair defective seat belts. The vast majority of Caprices are sold as police vehicles.

The USA Today reported that in documents filed by GM with the NHTSA, GM identified the flexible steel cables that connect the seat belts to the vehicle at the outside of the driver’s seat as a problem. These cables may bend while being sat upon when entering the vehicle and, over time, repeated bending may break the cable. If the cable does break, the person may not be properly restrained in the event of a crash, thereby increasing the risk of injury.

GM stated that it will notify the owners and that the necessary repairs will be made free of charge. GM stated that on April 2, 2015, it reviewed warranty claims related to the problem for Caprices and Pontiac G8 vehicles and when additional warranty claims were made in May, GM decided to conduct the recall. However, at the time of the USA Today article, GM had yet provided a notification schedule.

Additional information regarding the recall should be available at the manufacturer’s website.

Source: An article appearing at usatoday.com entitled “Book ‘em: Chevrolet recalls 47,000 police cars, others” on July 14, 2015.

IKEA RECALLS 27 MILLION DRESSERS

Posted on Friday, September 4th, 2015 at 2:28 pm    

Following the death of two children, IKEA has announced that it is recalling approximately 27 million chests and dressers because they can tip over on children if they are not secured to the wall. According to an article appearing in usatoday.com, two children died after IKEAs “MALM” chests fell on them.

USA Today reports that a child dies every two weeks and one is injured every 24 minutes in the United States because of furniture or televisions tipping over on them. And accordingly, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has made this issue a top priority. One of the children killed when the MALM 6-drawer dresser tipped over and pinned him against his bed was a 2-year old boy from West Chester, PA.

The CPSC is recommending that consumers immediately stop using all IKEA children’s chests and dresser higher than 23.5”, as well as all adult chests and dressers higher than 29.5”, unless they are secured anchored to the wall.

As part of the recall, IKEA is providing a free repair kit for all MALM chests. USA Today also reports that IKEA first started selling the MALM chest in 2002.

Source: An article appearing in USAToday.com on June 22, 2015, titled “CPSC, IKEA Announce Recall Of 27 Million Chests, Dressers After Two Deaths”

AARP OFFERS DRIVERS REFRESHER COURSES

Posted on Tuesday, September 1st, 2015 at 6:17 pm    

In 1979, the AARP founded the “55 Alive” safety program to help those over 55 keep their driving skill up-to-date. AARP Driver’s Safety program has continued to evolve with the times and on January 1, 2014 AARP launched a new and improved program called AARP Smart Driver Course. The program offered by AARP is the nation’s largest driving refresher course.

To help AARP’s efforts to keep up with changing technology, Toyota recently gave the AARP Foundation a three year, $12.6 million grant.

As a result of AARP’s research, the course has adjusted its focus on the following areas where older drivers can benefit from additional training including:

• Roundabouts
• Pavement markings
• Stop-sign compliance
• Red-light running
• Safety issues such as speeding, seatbelt and turn-signal use

In addition to revamping the Driver Safety program, AARP has also launched the Driving Resource Center which is an interactive online resource for course participants that includes driving simulation and state specific rules of the road.

More information regarding the AARP Smart Driver course is available at www.aarp,org.

Source: Article entitled AARP Driver Safety Debuts a New Refresher Course in 2014 in a post on the AARP website on October 24, 2014.