I was interviewed yesterday by Russell Mokhiber, editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter. He just shared this 2011 article with me:
Here is an excerpt from that article:
The case focuses on a federal rule that allows auto makers to use a seat belt only – without a shoulder belt – on seats next to an aisle in the middle row of a minivan.
In the case in question, the passenger in that middle row seat next to the aisle was killed when the Mazda minivan she was riding in was involved in a head on collision. She was wearing the only belt available – the seat belt – and she jack-knifed – causing fatal internal injuries.
Mazda argued that the federal rule allowing it to put only a seat belt on that middle row seat – without a shoulder belt – pre-empts state common law.
The appellate court agreed with Mazda and the plaintiff appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Auto safety expert Byron Bloch was at the Supreme Court when the justices heard the oral argument in the case last November.
He’s not optimistic about the outcome.
“Chief Justice Roberts focused on various of the economic factors,” Bloch said in an interview with Corporate Crime Reporter last week. “He thought that was an important consideration. Having a shoulder belt might cost Mazda more money. And shouldn’t Mazda be allowed to make economic decisions with regard to these various safety devices in a vehicle?”
Very interesting. Safety vs Profit.
Safety: I do not think that word means what you think it means.