Defective Airbags Lead to Nissan Recall

1 Comment

Nissan Motor Company is recalling more than 200,000 vehicles to repair a defective sensor system that could affect the passenger side airbag. According to this October 15, 2008 Associated Press news report, the recall includes about 140,000 Nissan Altima cars from the 2007-2008 model years as well as the 2007-2008 model years of the Infiniti EX35, G35 Sedan, G37 and the Nissan 350Z, Murano and Rogue.

So far, there have been no reports of injuries or crashes due to the defective auto products. Officials were apparently alerted to the product defect during some internal testing. The recall affects all the Nissan vehicles that come with the Continental Automotive Systems’ Occupant Classification System control units. Nissan officials suspect that an electronic component in the control unit located in the passenger seat cushion may have been built out of specification. That could cause a signal interruption in the sensor system preventing the airbag from deploying during a crash. Recall notices are expected to go out to consumers in November. Owners with questions are asked to call Nissan at 1-800-647-7261 or Infiniti at 1-800-662-6200.
More

Bush Administration’s Rule Changes Could Block Product Liability Lawsuits

No Comments

The American Association for Justice (AAJ) has a very timely report out titled “Get Out of Jail Free”. This report, based on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, tells the story of a partnership, if you will, between the Bush administration and corporate lobbyists to use a wide array of federal rulemaking to diminish or negate consumer rights, especially with regard to dangerous and defective products.

This strategy has already been used by the Federal Drug Administration to shield manufacturers of defective drugs and medical devices; by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration with regard to vehicle roof crush in rollover accidents; and by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission with regard to the issue of mattress fire safety. Each of these agencies has issued at least one ruling, which states that as long as a product meets the requirements spelled out by those rules, consumers have no right to take those manufacturers to court even if people have been injured or killed.

This Wall Street Journal story also discusses how the Bush administration has authored language “aimed at pre-empting product liability litigation to 50 federal rules that govern everything from motorcycle brakes to pain medication.”

AAJ must be commended for taking the initiative to find out the truth and tell the story about how our lawmakers and leaders who should be working to protect our legal rights are in fact, doing the opposite. AAJ’s report shows how helping large corporations and industry giants dodge accountability for dangerous products, has been one of the Bush administration’s top priorities.
More

Defective Gas Vent Dampers Recalled For Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Hazard

No Comments

Effikal LLC. of Orion, Michigan, has recalled 45,000 of its defective gas vent dampers, which could malfunction and leak poisonous carbon monoxide gas. According to an October 9, 2008 alert issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, these automatic gas vent dampers could fail suddenly. And if the blocked vent switch does not activate, the vent could leak carbon monoxide gas posing a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning to consumers. So far no injuries or fatalities have been reported as a result of this product defect.

Consumers are asked to stop using these products right away. This recall involves Effikal RVGP-PC gas vent damper unites – sizes 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10 that are installed with various gas boiler systems. A complete list of those boilers may be found either on CPSC’s Web site or the firm’s Web site, www.effikal.com. The vent damper date code is located on a sticker under the motor assembly cap on the plastic base. Serial numbers can be found on a label on the side of the damper’s cap.

The products were reportedly sold by plumbing and heating wholesale distributors to plumbers and contractors nationwide from August 2007 to July 2008. The boilers ranged in price from $1,000 to $4,000 and the gas vent dampers were sold as part of these gas boiler systems. Consumers who own these defective units should contact their installer to confirm they have a recalled vent damper and receive a free vent damper replacement. Consumers are asked to call Effikal at 1-866-790-3739 for more information.
More

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed in Shasta Helicopter Crash

No Comments

The family of 25-year-old firefighter, Scott Charlson, who was killed in an August 5, 2008 helicopter crash while fighting a wildfire in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against an Oregon-based helicopter company and three other firms. According to a news report in The Oregonian, nine firefighters were killed in this helicopter crash and four survived.

The lawsuit, filed by Richard and Nina Charlson, in California Superior Court in Shasta County, names Carson Helicopters Inc. of Grants Pass, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. – the manufacturer of the helicopter that crashed, United Technologies Corp. and General Electric. The helicopter reportedly crashed moments after taking off. An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that the helicopter lost power to its main rotor as it took off.

Attorneys who have brought lawsuits against Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in the past say the circumstances of this Shasta crash are similar to four other aviation accidents that recently killed or seriously injured West Coast pilots flying Sikorsky S-61 helicopters. A striking similarity in all crashes is that they happened during take off. All these aviation crashes were caused by a failure of the clutch mechanism, which connects engines to the helicopter’s main rotors.
More

Defective Yo-Yo Amusement Park Rides Recalled After Injuries

No Comments

Chance Rides Manufacturing Inc. has recalled about 85 defective Yo-Yo amusement park and carnival rides. The Wichita, Kansas based amusement park ride manufacturer recalled the rides to repair defects that reportedly caused two serious accidents. According to this October 8, 2008 news report, a Yo-Yo ride collapsed in May at the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee in Angels Camp, California, injuring 23 people. Also, in March 2006, a Yo-Yo ride at Six Flags in Arlington, Texas malfunctioned. Nine people suffered bruises as well as back and neck injuries in that ride accident.

The Yo-Yo ride basically has a series of metal arms extending from a rotating hub. A chair is attached to the end of each arm by a chain. The arms and the chairs swing outward as the hub rotates and picks up speed. , The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced in a product safety alert that Chance Rides Manufacturing will distribute kits to ride owners to help inspect and repair these defective rides. The manufacturer has also agreed to offer new maintenance guidelines for the rides.
More

Defective Toasters Recalled by Wal-Mart

1 Comment

Wal-Mart has recalled 210,000 defective General Electric toasters after receiving 140 reports of fires and sparks. A Consumer Reports Safety Blog states that two models, a two slice and four slice unit, were included in the recall. According to a September 30, 2008 recall notice by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the toasters have also tripped the circuit breaker in a number of consumers’ homes. So far 140 fires have been reported as a result of these defective toasters.

The recalled toasters have a chrome steel body and a black plastic base and controls. The GE logo is located on the front of the toasters just above the controls. The model numbers included in the recall are 169115 and 169116. The model numbers can be found on the bottom of the toaster. These defective units were sold at Wal-Mart stores nationwide between September 2007 and July 2008 for between $17 and $28. Consumers are asked to stop using these recalled toasters immediately and return them to any Wal-Mart for a full refund or replacement toaster. Those who would like more information are asked to call Wal-Mart at 1-800-925-6278 or visit their Web site at www.walmartstores.com.
More

BMW MINI Cooper Recalls Vehicles for Defective Brakes

No Comments

BMW’s MINI Cooper division is recalling the 2009 John Cooper Works and JCW Clubman models because of a defective brake system. According to an October 8, 2008 news report on Consumeraffairs.com, MINI stated that vehicles could experience reduced braking performance under conditions of intense brake usage. In its filing with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) MINI stated the vehicles equipped with 16-inch diameter front brake discs rather than 17-inch discs are at risk. This product defect could potentially lead to a serious crash.

MINI dealers will inspect the front brake discs and pads of the recalled vehicles and, if necessary, replace them at no charge to the owner. So far, no accidents or injuries related to these defective brakes have been reported, MINI officials said. JCW owners should look for a recall notice in the mail this month. Owners may also contact BMW at 1-866-275-6464 or by e-mail at mini.assistance@askminiusa.com to make inspection arrangements after receiving their recall notice.
More

Defective Boilers Recalled For Gas Leak

1 Comment

Viessmann Manufacturing Company Inc. of Canada, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), is recalling 4,600 defective Vitodens 200 boilers. According to an October 2, 2008 consumer alert issued by CPSC, these boilers can leak gas, posing a serious fire hazard to consumers. So far, no incidents or injuries relating to this product defect have been reported.

These gas-powered boilers are white, wall-mounted and have “Viessmann” and “Vitodens 200” printed on the exterior in silver letters. The boiler’s model number is located on the silver rating plate on the side of the boiler. For a complete list of Vitodens boiler model numbers, please refer to the CPSC alert. If you own one of these defective boilers, please contact your certified HVAC contractor to open the boiler and locate the serial number. The serial number can be found on a white label on the side of the boiler or under the bottom of the support panel.
More

Defective Tire Valves Pose Serious Danger

No Comments

The Consumer Reports Safety Blog has an interesting article about a federal investigation into defective tire valves being imported by Dill Air Controls Products. According to this blog, the investigation, which began in May, may lead to a massive recall of about 23.5 million defective Dill tire valves installed between August 2006 and July 2007.

These defective tire valves have caused several documented auto accident fatalities as well as a number of injuries. In fact, the investigation began after a fatal rollover crash of a 1998 Ford Explorer, which allegedly occurred because of a defective Dill valve. In September another serious accident involving a 2001 Toyota Sienna was believed to have been caused by a cracked and leaking Dill Tire Valve.
More

Federal Vehicle Roof Crush Rule Delayed Again

No Comments

The new federal roof crush rule, which has been delayed several times already, may not be out until Dec. 15, the Detroit News reports. U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters is saying that they need to do more “regulatory analysis” to issue a long-awaited update of a 35-year-old regulation concerning vehicle roof strength.

The importance of this new rule is underscored by the high number of vehicle rollover fatalities in the United States. Each year at least 10,000 people die in vehicle rollover accidents, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). The agency’s proposal in January that required a roof to withstand a force equal to 2.5 times the vehicle weight was met with criticism from consumer and safety advocates who said it was inadequate. The current standard requires vehicles only to withstand a force equal to 1.5 times the vehicle’s weight, which is woefully insufficient.
More

Older Entries Newer Entries