Preserving Evidence in Takata Air bag Recall
On Wednesday, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a press release regarding the ongoing federal investigation of deadly Tataka air bags. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has announced that the NHTSA has issued an order that will require Takata to preserve all air bag inflators that are being removed during the current recall process. The inflators are to be preserved as evidence for both the federal investigation and ongoing privately litigated cases. Additionally, the NHTSA will also have access to all data from the subsequent testing of the recalled inflators.
Deadly Exploding Air Bags
Approximately 17 million vehicles have been recalled due to faulty air bags manufactured by Takata. Under the right circumstances, the air bag inflators can actually explode, causing injuries or death to drivers and passengers. While these air bags were originally thought to be a problem in warm humid climates, additional information has come to light about their danger across the U.S.
Details of the Order
• Takata is prohibited from destroying any removed inflators, except for testing.
• Takata is required to set aside 10 percent of recalled inflators and make them available to private plaintiffs for testing.
• Takata is required to submit approval plans for gathering and preserving inflators and information on how they are going to make the inflators available to plaintiffs.
• Plaintiffs and automakers who seek access to recalled inflators must submit to the terms of the preservation order, which grants NHTSA access to testing data.
• NHTSA retains the ability to collect inflators for independent testing if deemed necessary.
Holding Manufacturers Accountable for Defective Products
Earlier this month, we reported on the secondary recall involving air bag remedies that weren’t working in certain models of Acura, Dodge, Jeep, Honda, Pontiac and Toyota Vehicles. This re-recall involved 2.12 million vehicles that had already undergone some type of ineffective so-called ‘fix.’ The team at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc. is dedicated to holding auto manufactures and manufacturers of faulty auto parts accountable for actions that leave consumers injured or worse.
Fatal Crash on Highway 101
On Sunday night, a one-car rollover crash on Highway 101 took the life of a Santa Maria woman. According to Santa Barbara’s Noozhawk, the incident happened at about 8:30 p.m. in the northbound lane of Highway 101, south of Orcutt, near the top of the Solomon Grade. The driver of a Chevrolet SUV lost control of the car and it rolled over, ejecting passenger 32-year-old Lindsey Marie Swallom. She was pronounced dead on the scene.
The driver, 41-year-old Raymond A. Fear II was transported to Marian Regional Medical Center for treatment of injuries. After being released, he was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail and charged with one count of gross vehicle manslaughter while intoxicated.
Car Crashes into Tow Truck
Late Sunday night, a car crashed into a tow truck on State Route 163. According to ABC Channel 10 News, the incident happened at about 11:45 p.m. as the tow truck driver was assisting another driver after a previous collision. For currently unknown reasons, a BMW slammed into the back of the parked tow truck.
Thankfully, the tow truck driver was able to jump out of harm’s way as the car flew up the flat bed and struck the pickup truck on top. The impact of the crash sent the not-yet-secured pickup truck through the cab area of the tow truck. The driver of the BMW tried to leave the scene on foot but was apprehended. Thankfully, no injuries were reported in connection with this bizarre crash.
Improving Safety in the Rental Car Industry
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently issued a press released regarding a request on Congress to pass legislation that would require rental car agencies and used car dealers to fix safety defects before renting or selling vehicles that are under recall. Currently, rental car agencies and used car dealerships are allowed to sell or rent cars that are under recall status without getting the recommended repairs done.
Grow America Act
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind, in combination with other officials and advocates, are calling on Congress to pass the new legislation. The Grow America Act would include provisions that would require rental car agencies and used car dealers to remedy automobiles under recall for safety defects. Nobody should buy a used car or rent a car with a dangerous or deadly defect.
Rental Cars with Deadly Defects
At this time, rental car agencies and used car dealers can legally rent and sell cars to customers knowing that the cars have dangerous and defective parts. You could rent a car on vacation with a dangerous defect in need of repair. The used car you’re buying could have a serous defect. Furthermore, they don’t actually have to disclose the information to you. Basically, they’re allowed to rent and sell cars that are under recalls from the manufacturers without actually fixing those defects. From exploding airbags to ignition switch failures, the cars you rent or buy could be in dire need of repair.
Cracking Down on Manufacturers
Since auto and auto part manufacturers have been less than forthcoming and cooperative about safety defects in the last year, the NHTSA is also cracking down on them for not taking recalls and safety defects seriously enough. Takata, makers of the faulty airbags, are going to be fined $14,000 per day for failing to fully cooperate with the NHTSA’s ongoing investigation of the defective airbags.
Injuries Due to Defective Parts and Products
It can take months or years for defective parts and products to be recalled, so if you think a faulty product caused your injury, you need to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. It’s also important to report any suspicions you might have to the NHTSA and to the automobile manufacturer.
Fatal Wrong-Way Crash on 101
On Friday afternoon, one person was killed and two people were seriously injured in a wrong-way crash on Highway 101, near Santa Maria. According to Santa Barbara’s Noozhawk, the incident happened at about 12:50 p.m. on the Santa Maria River Bridge. Apparently, a Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck entered the roadway going the wrong direction at the Broadway Southbound exit.
The truck collided with a Ford Fiesta, and one of the vehicles burst into flames. The Silverado also had a camper in the bed. A trapped victim had to be extricated. The driver of the pickup truck died on the scene, and two people inside of the Fiesta had to be airlifted to the hospital for treatment of major injuries.
At this time, the crash is still under investigation with law enforcement authorities, and we don’t know the conditions of the injured victims.
Elderly Driver Hits Building
On Wednesday evening, an elderly driver ran into a building in the Normal Heights area of San Diego. According to ABC Channel 10 News, the collision happened sometime after 9:30 p.m. Apparently, the elderly driver struck a spiritual center’s building, located near Adams and Wilson Avenues.
Very few details have been released about this crash, but we do know that the building’s structure was moderately damaged. We don’t know if this was a case of hitting the wrong pedal, a medical emergency or if the driver was disoriented. There’s no word on whether or not the driver was cited. Thankfully, no injuries were reported in connection with this crash.
Impaired Driving Research Results
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently issued a press release regarding the results of two recent studies on impaired driving in the U.S. The NHTSA reports that while drunk driving declines, drug use behind the wheel increases across the nation.
Drunk Driving as a National Safety Issue
Drunk driving has been high on the list of national motor vehicle safety issues for the last couple of decades. Thanks to safety campaigns and high-visibility law enforcement patrols, drunk driving has decreased in the U.S. Although this is great news for safe drivers in California and across the nation, we’re seeing an increase in impaired driving involving illegal and legal prescription and over-the-counter drugs. From marijuana to cold medicine, driving under the influence of certain types of drugs continues to put roadway users in danger all over the U.S.
Impaired Driving Statistics
• Since 2007, the number of drivers with alcohol in their systems has declined by nearly one-third.
• Since 1973, the number of drivers with alcohol in their system has declined by three-quarters.
• The number of weekend nighttime drivers with evidence of drugs in their system climbed from 16.3 percent in 2007 to 20 percent in 2014.
• The number of drivers with marijuana in their system grew by almost 50 percent.
• In a 2014 survey, nearly one in four drivers tested positive for at least one drug that could affect safety behind the wheel.
What About Prescription and Over-the-Counter Meds?
Although driving under the influence of legally prescribed and purchased over-the-counter medications isn’t publicized as widely as drinking and driving, there’s no doubting the danger involved. Any medications or drugs that can impact your wakefulness are dangerous behind the wheel. If drowsiness is a side effect, you shouldn’t be operating a vehicle.
Injured in a Drunk Driving Accident
After an accident involving a drunk or drug impaired driver, you need to speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to get the ball rolling on your case.
Eight-Year-Old Pedestrian Injured
On Monday evening, an eight-year-old boy was struck and injured by a vehicle in Santa Barbara. According to Santa Barbara’s Noozhawk, the incident happened at about 5:10 p.m., at Sola and San Andres Strets, on the Westside of town. Very few details about the crash have been released, but we do know that the boy suffered from a fractured lower leg.
The young pedestrian was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment. At this time, there’s no word on his current condition, but he was described as alert by first responders. The cause of this crash is still under investigation with law enforcement authorities.
Fatal Rollover Crash on I-805
Early Tuesday morning, a rollover crash on Interstate 805 took the life of a man in Fairmount Park. According to ABC News Channel 10, the incident happened sometime before 2:10 a.m. on the transition ramp from southbound I-805 to east State Route 94. For currently unknown reasons, the driver of a 2005 Nissan Frontier lost control of his car. The vehicle hit a guardrail and rolled onto its side.
Just a few moments after the initial crash, a Toyota Matrix struck the wreckage. The driver of the Nissan died on the scene, and the driver of the Toyota was transported to the hospital for treatment of major injuries. There’s no word on that person’s current condition.
Impact Teen Drivers in Santa Maria
On Thursday night, Kelly Browning, executive director of Impact Teen Drivers, gave a safety presentation to teens and adults in Santa Maria. Santa Barbara’s Noozhawk reported on the presentation that was aimed at raising awareness about the dangers of distracted driving among teens. Browning opened the presentation with a true story about a teen who died in a car crash where three occupants were ejected. She is quick to point out that reckless and distracted driving is the top killer of teens across the nation.
Impact Teen Drivers Safety Presentation
About 40 teens and their parents attended the presentation, which was given by Impact Teen Drivers, in conjunction with the Santa Maria Police Department Traffic Bureau and the California Highway Patrol. The presentation also emphasized the importance of adhering to laws regarding teen driving restrictions. Browning also pointed out that most crashes happen in the first 12 months of licensed driving. Parents especially need to pay attention to the restrictions regarding underage passengers between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. Additional teen passengers and nighttime driving are two of the eight danger zones for teens.
Eight Danger Zones for Teens
1. Driver inexperience
2. Driving with teen passengers
3. Nighttime driving
4. Not using seat belts
5. Distracted driving
6. Drowsy driving
7. Reckless driving
8. Impaired driving
Dangerous Driving Habits are Lethal For Teens
In 2011, about 2,650 teens, between the ages of 16 and 19, were killed in crashes across the nation. Additionally, about 292,000 teens were injured in crashes. On average, seven teens died in car crashes every day. Driver inexperience coupled with additional factors make dangerous driving habits absolutely lethal for teen drivers and passengers.
Teen Driving Crash Risk Factors
• Underestimating dangerous situations
• Not allowing enough distance between other cars
• Drinking and driving
• Seat belt usage
• Additional teen occupants
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