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TAKATA AIRBAG RECALLS COULD REACH 90 MILLION

Posted on Thursday, March 31st, 2016 at 3:00 pm    

According to a recent Reuter’s report, a spokesman for NHTSA stated that NHTSA continues to investigate Takata airbags and may decide that automakers must recall an additional 70 to 90 million airbags manufactured by Takata. Thus far, there have been approximately 29 million defective Takata airbags recalled in the United States.

The Reuter’s article reported that NHTSA is continuing to look at all airbags manufactured by Takata using ammonium nitrate inflators. NHTSA’s spokesman stated that “all of those inflators must eventually be recalled in the absence of proof that they are safe”.

In November of 2015, NHTSA levied a record civil penalty of $200 million dollars on Takata and imposed a consent order that required Takata to stop making airbags that use phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate propellant. The ammonium nitrate propellant/inflators is believed to be a factor in the explosive ruptures that have occurred with Takata airbags and have resulted in 7 deaths and nearly 100 injuries in the United States.

Reuters also reported that Takata produced between 260 million and 285 million ammonium nitrate inflator based airbags between 2000 and 2015. And, nearly half of those airbags ended up in vehicles sold in the U.S.

Source: Article appearing at usatoday.com on February 23, 2016 entitled NHTSA may recall up to 90 million more Takata airbags by Brent Snavely of the Detroit Free Press.

MOWING THE LAWN CAN BE DANGEROUS

Posted on Tuesday, March 29th, 2016 at 1:23 pm    

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), lawn mower injuries account for a large percentage of accidental partial or complete amputations. In their article on lawn mower safety, the AAOS states that the energy transferred by a typical lawn mower blade is roughly equivalent to being shot in the hand with a .357 Magnum pistol. A lawn mower can eject a piece of metal or wood up to 100 miles per hour. And, the speed of the blade can deposit dirt and bacteria deep into any wound creating a very high risk for a severe infection.

In the single year of 2010, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission states that 253,000 people were treated for lawn mower-related injuries. This was a 3 percent increase over the 2009 year and children under the age of 19 accounted for nearly 17,000 of the injuries. In short, mowing your lawn is a dangerous activity with a very real risk for serious injury.

The AAOS states that most injuries can be prevented by concentrating on the task at hand and using common sense. A detailed list of safety tips are provided by the AAOS at orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00670.

For additional safety tips and information, please see our blog article entitled Tips For Lawn Mower Safety and Lawn Mower Injuries in Children at orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00611.

Source: An article entitled Lawn Mower Safety published at orthoinfo.aaos.org.

FTC REACHES SETTLEMENT WITH GM OVER SALE OF RECALLED USED CARS

Posted on Friday, March 25th, 2016 at 1:30 pm    

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently announced that it reached a settlement with General Motors following a probe of car dealers that market used cars as safe in spite of not having completed recall repairs on the vehicles. According to the FTC, GM and two other dealer groups have agreed to stop marketing used vehicles as safe or describing the vehicles as having been rigorously inspected when they haven’t completed repairs mandated by recalls.

The FTC noted that GM and several dealers had advertised numerous used cars, included unrepaired vehicles affected by the ignition switch defect, under the “certified pre-owned” moniker. The “certified pre-owned” moniker is used by car companies to indicate that the used vehicle has undergone a rigorous inspection to insure that the vehicle is safe and in good working order.

A spokesman for the FTC noted that while dealers can technically sell used cars without applying the fixes mandated by a recall, the settlement prevents GM from doing so unless the dealers clearly disclose the recalls to the consumer. The FTC also noted that there are other investigations underway against other manufacturers and dealers related to the same issue.

Source: An article appearing at usatoday.com on January 29, 2016 entitled GM settles FTC probe into sale of recalled used cars by Nathan Bomey.

SEVEN HIGH RISK SITUATIONS FOR MOTORCYCLISTS

Posted on Thursday, March 24th, 2016 at 2:14 pm    

According to ABATE (Alliance of Bikers Aimed Towards Education) the following situations are where motorcycle accidents are most likely to occur:

1. LEFT TURN
Over 40% of all motorcycle accidents occur at intersections. The most common type of collision between a car and a motorcycle is when the automobile driver is making a left turn in front of a motorcycle at an intersection.

2. OBSTRUCTION OF VIEW
An isolated motorcyclist riding alongside a lane of automobiles is often out of view of the automobile driver. Consequently, the automobile driver may collide with the motorcyclist when attempting to change lanes.

3. HAZARDOUS ROAD CONDITONS
Road hazards and conditions such as potholes, a fallen tree limb, or railroad tracks while minor issues for automobiles, can post serious hazards to motorcyclists.

4. WEATHER CONDITIONS
A wet or icy road surface can create a dangerous situation for a motorcyclist by adversely affecting the handling of the motorcycle.

5. STRONG WINDS
A strong, unexpected gust of wind can move a motorcycle across an entire lane. Likewise, wind gusts from large trucks can create a serious hazard for a motorcyclist.

6. LARGE VEHICLES
A large truck or other large vehicle can block the motorcyclist from the view of other motorists on the highway, making the motorcycle seem to come out of nowhere.

7. ALCOHOL AND DRUGS
Alcohol and drugs will seriously impair your ability to handle a motorcycle. Don’t use alcohol or drugs and drive.

Source: www.ABATEPA.org.

FORD RECALLS 400,000 RANGER PICKUP TRUCKS DUE TO DEFECTIVE TAKATA AIRBAGS

Posted on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016 at 1:46 pm    

Ford Motor Company recently announced that it would recall approximately 400,000 Ranger pickup trucks to replace defective Takata airbags. The vehicles involved are Ford Rangers model years 2004 through 2006.

Ford’s recall comes on the heels of an announcement by NHTSA that a South Carolina driver of a 2006 Ford Ranger was killed when a Takata airbag exploded during a crash in December 2015. This incident marked the 10th death which regulators have attributed to defective Takata airbags and was the first death to be attributed to a defective Takata airbag in a non-Honda vehicle.

Ford stated that owners of Ranger vehicles can check to see if their vehicle is being recalled by entering the VIN number in the safety recall page accessible at ford.com. A spokesman for NHTSA noted that before this deadly crash, testing by NHTSA of 1,900 inflators in the Ford Rangers had not revealed any problems with the Takata airbags.

The recall of vehicles equipped with defective Takata airbags has proceeded rather slowly largely because replacement parts have not been available and many vehicle owners have ignored recall notices. As of December 2015, only about 27% of vehicles recalled in the U.S. for defective Takata driver side airbags had been repaired.

NHTSA also reported on Friday that it expected the recall of Takata airbags to expand from 19 million vehicles to approximately 24 million vehicles due to new discoveries related to the Takata airbags.

Source: An article appearing at usatoday.com entitled Ford recalls 400,000 Ranger pickup trucks to replace Takata airbags by Nathan Bomey on January 26, 2016.

HIGHWAY DEATHS TRENDING UPWARD IN 2015

Posted on Friday, March 18th, 2016 at 1:48 pm    

According to statistics recently released by NHTSA, traffic deaths in the United States soared by more than 9% through the first nine months of 2015 when compared to the same period in 2014. NHTSA estimates that more than 26,000 people were killed in highway accidents during that time period compared to 23,796 for the same time period in 2014.

If this increase holds for the full 2015 year, it would be only the second time in the past ten years that total deaths have increased over the preceding year.

Since roadway deaths hit a modern low of 32,675 in 2014, regulators are puzzled by the large jump that has occurred in the first nine months of 2015. NHTSA stated it will hold a series of safety summits to try to determine what its next steps should be to address this disturbing trend.

Source: An article appearing at usatoday.com on February 5, 2016 entitled U.S. roadway deaths soar 9% by Nathan Bomey.

CALIFORNIA WORKING ON REGULATIONS FOR SELF-DRIVING VEHICLES

Posted on Thursday, March 17th, 2016 at 1:54 pm    

According to an article appearing in the LNP, regulators in California are working on regulations to govern self-driving or autonomous vehicles like the Google autonomous cars. These regulations were due in January of 2015, but regulators appear to be taking their time to make sure that the regulations address not only the self-driving vehicles, but any issues related to their owners.

Current California law categorizes vehicles into four different levels and currently does not allow for truly self-driving autonomous vehicles. The law does, however, permit companies such as Google, Tesla and major auto firms to test self-driving cars on the highway with trained safety drivers behind the wheel.

While Tesla Motors recently introduced software allowing its drivers to switch on an Autopilot Mode which includes adaptive cruise control and which allows the car to change lanes by itself after the driver turns on the turn signal, this system falls just short of crossing the line under California’s current rules. According to the LNP article, in order to discourage Tesla drivers from relying too heavily on its autopilot system, Telsa’s autopilot will beep after about 10 seconds of hands-free driving to remind the drivers to grab the wheel again. And, if that warning is ignored, it can sound a louder warning and turn off the radio.

A spokesman for the California DMV stated that they are comfortable with the Tesla system as they note that Tesla is saying that the driver still needs to be in control. However, based on videos posted on YouTube, some drivers apparently are trying to let the car take control.

With Telsa working on new software that could make its vehicles an experiment in semi-autonomous technology, California could be feeling a bit of pressure to complete its long awaited rules.

Source: An article appearing in the LNP on Thursday, November 12, 2015 entitled Self-driving cars raising lots of questions by Matt O’Brien of the San Jose Mercury News.

DISTRACTED DRIVING TAKES TOLL ON TEEN DRIVERS

Posted on Tuesday, March 15th, 2016 at 1:32 pm    

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) distracted driving plays a role in only 14% of teen crashes. However, a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety concluded that nearly 6 out of 10 moderate to severe teen crashes are the result of driver distraction.

The AAA study was based upon an analysis of the final six seconds of data recorded just before a crash taken from 1,700 in vehicle event recorders. The study found that teen drivers involved in accidents had taken their eyes off the road for an average of 4.1 seconds during the final 6 seconds before a crash. Research has concluded that a driver should not have their eyes off the road for more than 2 or 3 seconds at any time. The AAA study also reported that in half of the rear-end crashes the teen drivers failed to attempt to brake or steer their way to safety.

Statistics show that almost one million teen drivers were involved in police reported crashes in 2013 alone. On a per mile basis, teenage drivers are nearly three times more likely to be in a fatal crash than those age 20 or older. The AAA study only serves to underscore the significance of distracted driving, particularly among our youngest drivers. In light of these grim statistics, some states have taken significant steps to discourage distracted driving by passing laws that prohibit texting or using a cell phone while driving. Another tactic taken by some states has been to limit the number of young adult passengers a teenage driver can have in the car with them when operating a motor vehicle.

If you have teenage drivers in your household, we encourage you to help your teenage driver develop good driving habits by setting a good example when you are operating a motor vehicle by avoiding distracted driving behaviors.

Source: Article appearing on www.cnbc.com entitled 6 in 10 teen crashes involve distracted driving by Paul A. Eisenstein on Wednesday, March 25, 2015.

HONDA ADDS 2.2 MILLION MORE VEHICLES TO AIRBAG RECALL

Posted on Friday, March 11th, 2016 at 2:17 pm    

Honda recently announced that it is expanding its recall in North America of vehicles equipped with defective Takata airbags and adding an additional 2.23 million U.S. vehicles. Honda’s latest recall raises the number of Honda and Accura automobiles being recalled for defective airbags to 8.51 million vehicles.

According to USA Today, Honda will replace the recalled Takata inflators with new parts from an alternative supplier free of charge. However, Honda said that the necessary replacement parts will not be available until the summer of 2016.

Vehicle owners should be able to determine their vehicle’s recall status on the Honda website or on the website of NHTSA (www.nhtsa.gov/). Customers can also get up to date information by calling 888-234-2138. Honda has been particularly hard hit by the Takata airbag crises.

Source: An article appearing at usatoday.com on February 5, 2016 entitled Honda expands airbag recall to 2.2M more U.S. vehicles by Kevin McCoy and Nathan Bomey.

TIPS TO HELP MOTORISTS BE MORE AWARE OF MOTORCYCLISTS

Posted on Thursday, March 10th, 2016 at 2:33 pm    

With warmer weather on the way, more and more motorcycles are staring to appear on our highways.The following are some tips offered by the Alliance of Bikers Aimed Towards Education (ABATE) to help drivers be more aware of motorcycles/motorcyclists.

1. LOOK OUT FOR MOTORCYCLES.
Even though you may not see any cars, be careful as there may be an unnoticed motorcycle. Be particularly careful at intersections and when making left turns.

2. ANTICIPATE A MOTORCYCLIST’S MANEUVERS.
A motorcyclist may change position in his lane to better observe traffic, to respond to road conditions, etc.

3. SIGNAL YOUR INTENTIONS.
Even if you don’t see a car in front or behind you, be sure to use your turn signals when turning or changing lanes just in case you fail to observe a motorcycle.

4. DON’T TAILGATE A MOTORCYCLIST.
A motorcyclist may need to slow down quickly, swerve or change lane position to avoid gravel, oil slicks, animals and other road hazards.

5. MOTORCYCLISTS OFTEN RIDE IN GROUPS.
Therefore, when entering or exiting a highway and attempting to pass a group of motorcyclists, do not cut into the group unless the group has provided space for you.

6. RESPECT THE MOTORCYCLIST’S RIGHT TO THE ROAD.
Give motorcyclists a full lane to maneuver just as you would any other vehicle.

7. PAY ATTENTION TO THE MOTORCYCLIST’S HAND SIGNALS.
Some motorcyclists do not have self-cancelling turn signals. Therefore, wait and see what the motorcyclist does before you make your move.

Remember, “Look Twice,Save a Life.”

Source: www.ABATEPA.org