IIHS Roof Strength Rating

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IIHS Rates Vehicles Based on Roof Strength and Rollover Protection

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is launching a new rating system for vehicle roof strength to help consumers pick vehicles that will protect them during rollover crashes. According to an article in the Auto Channel, IIHS put 12 small sport utility vehicles to the test first and out of these 12 SUVs, only four earned a “good” rating. The Kia Sportage received the worst or weakest roof rating among the 2008-2009 models tested by the Institute and the Volkswagen Tiguan had the strongest rated roof. IIHS’ recent research demonstrated the fact that stronger roofs can protect vehicle occupants much better in the event of a rollover crash. The Institute determined that vehicles rated good must have roofs that are more than twice as strong as the minimum required by federal safety standards.

Here’s a break-up of how the 12 SUVs tested by IIHS fared:

“Good” rating: Volkswagen Tiguan, Subaru Forester, Honda Element and Jeep Patriot.
“Acceptable” rating: Suzuki Grand Vitara, Chevrolet Equinox, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue and Mitsubishi Outlander
“Marginal” rating: Honda CR-V, Ford Escape
“Poor” rating: Kia Sportage

The IIHS embarked on these tests because inadequate federal roof strength standards fail to give consumers a true picture of what is available in the market. We are still waiting for a federal roof strength ruling to replace an outdated standard that has not been modified for the last 35 years. That weak standard has basically allowed auto makers to get away with manufacturing vehicles with weak and unsafe roofs. In a rollover accident, these roofs cave in on the vehicle’s occupants causing catastrophic and fatal injuries. Bisnar | Chase has represented numerous victims of SUV rollover crashes over the years. Bisnar|Chase has also conducted independent tests at our own expense, which clearly showed that many sport utility vehicles were nothing but death traps because they lacked roof strength.

Riverside County Seatbelt Failure

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Seatbelt Failure a Factor in Riverside County Rollover Crash?

A woman suffered major injuries in a Palm Springs rollover accident the afternoon of March 20, 2009. According to an article in the Desert Sun, the woman was driving a Chevrolet Avalanche traveling east on the Interstate 10 near Jefferson Street, when she lost control of the vehicle and it rolled over. California Highway Patrol officials say that the woman was wearing her seatbelt, but was still partially ejected from the car and sustained major injuries. She was transported to a local hospital in serious condition. CHP officials still don’t have details about how or why the rollover crash occurred.

I’m relieved that this woman survived this horrific Riverside County rollover accident although she suffered serious injuries. I hope and pray that she has a speedy and complete recovery.

Rollover accidents can be deadly and statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) prove that. According to the federal agency, at least 10,000 people die in rollover accidents each year. That constitutes 25 percent of the total number of fatalities in the United States caused by traffic accidents.

Defective Fisher-Price High Chairs

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Fisher-Price Recalls Defective High Chairs for Serious Injury Hazard

Fisher-Price is recalling close to 24,000 3-in-1 defective high chairs sold at Target stores nationwide. According to a news report in Consumeraffairs.com, the seat of the high chair can fall backwards from the frame if the booster seat release is unlatched while the child is in the seat. Also, the seat back can detach if not fully snapped in place. This poses a fall hazard and risk of serious injury to young children. So far Fisher-Price has received one report of serious head injury after a seat back detached and a child fell out. That child suffered a skull fracture.

This product recall involved the 3-in-1 High Chair to Booster brand, which converts from a high chair to a toddler booster seat. The chair also includes a removable tray, height adjustment and folds for storage. The product number (P5369) is printed on the side of the seat as well as on the product’s packaging. These high chairs, manufactured in Mexico, were sold exclusively at Target stores nationwide from December 2008 through March 2009 for about $100.

Defective Hummer Recall

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GM Recalls Defective Hummer H3T Pickup Trucks

General Motors is recalling 1,738 new 2009 Hummer H3T Pickup trucks to fix a problem that may cause the fuel tank to separate from the truck, according to a news report and a recall alert by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Apparently, these Hummer trucks have two support straps and a skid plate to hold the fuel tank in place. But there is a possibility that the front strap may break, leaving only the shield and rear strap to support the tank. Further use of the truck should cause the remaining restraints to break as well, and the tank to drop from the truck.

General Motors officials say the strap fracture problem has only been seen in durability tests conducted with fleet trucks. Dealers will swap the current front support strap with a redesigned strap free of charge when the recall begins Consumers are asked to call Hummer at 1-800-732-5493. You can also get more information from NHTSA’s Web site by entering the recall ID number: 09V080000.

San Diego SUV Rollover Accident


San Diego County Fatal SUV Rollover Accident On I-5

Leslie Sheila Foster, 67, was killed in an Oceanside SUV rollover crash after the sport utility vehicle in which she was a passenger was struck by another vehicle on the Interstate 5. According to an article in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Foster and her husband were driving back from Orange County the night of March 22, 2009 when their Toyota RAV4 was struck by a Chrysler PT Cruiser just north of Oceanside. The RAV4 skidded on impact, veered off the highway and rolled over. Foster’s husband escaped with minor injuries in the rollover accident, but Leslie Foster died before she could be taken to a hospital.

The driver of the PT Cruiser, identified as a 43-year-old man was uninjured. California Highway Patrol officials say drugs or alcohol were not involved in this San Diego rollover crash. But the driver was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor manslaughter. Officials say he was driving recklessly and drifted into the Toyota’s lane.

My heart goes out to the family and friends of Leslie Sheila Foster for their tragic loss. I’m relieved that her husband escaped this horrific rollover crash with minor injuries. I wish him the very best for a physical and emotional recovery. I offer my deepest condolences to him and everybody who knew and loved Leslie Foster. Please keep them in your prayers

San Diego Ford Bronco Rollover

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San Diego County Ford Bronco Rollover Crash Injures 11

Eleven people were injured in a Ford Bronco rollover accident in East San Diego County the afternoon of March 22, 2009, CBS News reports. The vehicle was possibly involved in smuggling undocumented immigrants, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officials said. The Ford Bronco rolled over less than a mile away from the U.S.-Mexico border in a rugged area. Two victims suffered moderate injuries in the single-vehicle rollover crash. Nine occupants were also treated for other injuries. The driver of the Bronco was taken into custody on suspicion of attempting to smuggle undocumented immigrants illegally across the border. It is not clear what caused the rollover accident.

I’m relieved that this San Diego County SUV rollover accident did not result in any fatal injuries. I wish all the injured victims the very best for a quick and complete recovery.

Dodge Ram Truck Defect

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Dodge Ram Trucks Recalled for Defective Clutch

Chrysler is recalling its defective Dodge Ram 2500/3500 trucks from the 2009 model year because these vehicles have a defective clutch. According to this news report in Consumeraffairs.com, this auto product recall involves trucks with the heavy duty cab chassis equipped with manual transmissions and power-adjustable pedals. Dodge officials say that the clutch pedal connecting rod may separate from the master cylinder, not allowing the disengagement of the clutch. This could result in unintended vehicle movement, which may in turn cause an auto accident.

Once this vehicle recall begins, dealers will replace the clutch master cylinder hydraulic system free of charge. If you have any more questions about this recall, please call Chrysler at 1-800-853-1403. You may also call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at 1-888-327-4236.

General Motors Defective Vehicles

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General Motors Recalls Defective Vehicles

General Motors is recalling more than 275,000 cars and sport utility vehicles to fix a problem with the vehicles’ automatic transmission. According to a news report in Consumeraffairs.com, the vehicles are cars and SUVs from the 2009 model year and include: Buick Enclave, Chevy Cobalt, HHR, Malibu and Traverse; GMC Acadia; Pontiac G5 and G8; Saturn Aura and Outlook.

Company officials say the recalled vehicles don’t comply with federal regulations regarding transmission braking, theft protection and rollaway prevention. On some of these defective vehicles, the transmission shift cable adjustment clip may not be fully engaged; the shift lever and the actual position of the transmission gear may not match. If that happens, the driver might move the gear to “park” and remove the ignition without realizing that the transmission gear is not actually in the park position. This could result in the driver not being able to restart the vehicle or the vehicle rolling away without warning.

When this recall begins, dealers will inspect the shift cable clip. If you have any questions, you may contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at 1-888-327-4236.

iPod Product Liability

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Apple iPod Touch Product Liability Lawsuit

Apple is facing a product liability lawsuit from the mother of a 15-year-old boy who said his 16 GB iPod Touch exploded in his pants pocket, resulting in severe burn injuries to his leg. According to a report in CNET, the lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. According to court filings, the boy apparently heard a loud popping sound and immediately felt a burning sensation in his leg. His iPod had exploded and caught fire in his pants pocket. The teenager immediately ran into a bathroom and removed his burning pants with help from a friend. The Apple iPod Touch had incinerated his pants pocket burning his leg.

The boy suffered second-degree burn injuries as a result of the explosion. His family is seeking in excess of $225,000 in compensatory and punitive damages on the teenager’s behalf. The CNET article states that mobile device explosions that cause injuries unfortunately occur quite commonly and in many cases occur because of defective batteries that were put in by the user. With the iPod Touch, the battery is not replaceable by the user and so must have been an original Apple battery that may have been defective. I’m sure the details of what went so terribly wrong with this particular product will unfold as the case progresses.

Defective Fire Extinguishers

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Kidde Recalls Defective Fire Extinguishers

Kidde has recalled about 167,000 defective fire extinguishers, which company officials say, could lose pressure and fail to operate in the event of a fire. According to the Consumer watchdog Web site, Consumeraffairs.com, this defective product recall involves the Kidde XL fire extinguishers with model numbers FX340SC, FX340H, FX340GW, XL5MR, FX210R, FX340SC-2, FX210W, XL2.5TCZ-4, E-340-3. These defective products were reportedly manufactured between October 2007 and April 2008.The brand name “Kidde” and the model number can be found on the label on the front of the extinguisher. These products, made in Mexico, were sold at department, home and hardware stores nationwide for about $35.

Consumers are first asked to check the pressure gauge of the Kidde fire extinguisher they own. If it points to the red zone, they can contact Kidde and receive a free replacement extinguisher. If the gauge is not in the red zone, and the fire extinguisher is one of the recalled models, please contact Kidde at 1-888-345-4407 or visit their Web site at www.Kidde.com for more information.

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