A woman died this week when her Jeep SUV was rear ended while stopped at a traffic light.
Fuel from the Jeep then caught fire. . .
The driver of the Buick was cited for suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol but those charges have since been dropped, he said.
Hammonds also said investigators suspect excessive speed to be involved but declined to estimate how fast the other driver was going at the time of the crash citing the early stages of the investigation.
After Fiat Chrysler agreed to recall the Jeeps, NHTSA closed its investigation in November of 2014. It concluded in a memo at the time that the trailer hitch provided “incremental safety benefits in certain low and moderate speed crash incidents,Fatal Jeep Crash Renews Criticism of Recall Fix to Prevent Fires” while also noting that the repair “will not necessarily be effective in the most severe crashes.”
Is this another example of a person whose life would have been spared had those with responsibility to act not been negligent? When will we understand that we hold the power of life & death in our hands?
AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation.
ACTION: Notice of receipt of petition and decision granting partial relief.
SUMMARY: On May 16, 2016, TK Holdings Inc. (Takata) filed a defect information report (DIR), in which it determined that a defect existed in certain passenger-side air bag inflators that it manufactured, including passenger inflators that it supplied to General Motors, LLC (GM) for use in certain GMT900 vehicles. GM has petitioned the Agency for a decision that, because of differences in inflator design and vehicle integration, the equipment defect determined to exist by Takata is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety in the GMT900 vehicles, and that GM should therefore be relieved of its notification and remedy obligations.
DATES: The closing date for comments is September 14, 2017.
Another round of manufacturers are recalling trailers due to an issue with Bendix spring valves. More than 9,000 Manac, Polar Tank, Heil and Hyundai trailers are affected in this latest notice, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.
AFTER NEW DATA REVEALS TAKATA AIR BAG RUPTURE RATES AS HIGH AS 50%, BLUMENTHAL & MARKEY CALL ON HONDA TO IMMEDIATELY ISSUE ‘DO NOT DRIVE’ ORDER FOR VEHICLES WITH THESE AIR BAGS
[WASHINGTON, DC] – After new data revealed that Takata air bags in certain Honda and Acura vehicles have a 50 percent chance of rupture in a crash, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) are calling on Honda to immediately issue a “do not drive” order to owners vehicles with these dangerous air bags. In a letter to Honda today, the Senators urged Honda to take the strongest possible action to ensure that vehicles with such air bags are immediately removed from the road before more people are killed. They also called on the company to take additional measures to make it as easy as possible for owners of these vehicles to have this dangerous defect repaired, without having to drive the vehicle to a dealership.
“Honda has a responsibility to clearly communicate the danger to consumers so that they understand the grave risks at hand,” the Senators wrote. “A ‘do not drive’ instruction should be conspicuously displayed on any recall notices, as well as this new test data so owners are informed that in the event of a crash, there is a 50 percent change that the airbag will violently explode. This new test data, coupled with the fact that eight of the 10 confirmed U.S. fatalities due to defective Takata airbags were in this subset of vehicles, make it abundantly obvious that a ‘do not drive’ instruction is absolutely warranted.”
The Senators first expressed concerns with NHTSA’s limited recalls and testing of Takata airbags in October 2014. They have also called on Takata to recall all vehicles with ammonium nitrate-based airbags, and expressed serious concern about the pace of Takata recalls and repairs.Earlier this year, the senators sent a letter urging President Obama to recall every vehicle with airbags using ammonium nitrate as their propellant, and to use “every tool at his disposal” to accelerate the repair of all vehicles with potentially-lethal Takata airbags.
In light of new test data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealing that certain model-year 2001-2003 Honda and Acura vehicles show rupture rates as high as 50 percent in a crash, we write to urge you to immediately issue a “do not drive” order to owners of this subset of vehicles. This data warrants the strongest possible action that a manufacturer can take to ensure that vehicles with such air bags are immediately removed from the road before more people are killed.
As Department of Transportation Secretary Foxx stated following the release of this news, “Folks should not drive these vehicles unless they are going straight to a dealer to have them repaired immediately, free of charge.” In the wake of this announcement, we expected Honda to echo the Secretary’s remarks and quickly follow-up with a “do not drive” instruction to owners of this subset of vehicles.
We are extremely disappointed that Honda does not appear to have taken this important step. Honda has a responsibility to clearly communicate the danger to consumers so that they understand the grave risks at hand. A “do not drive” instruction should be conspicuously displayed on any recall notices, as well as this new test data so owners are informed that in the event of a crash, there is a 50 percent chance that the airbag will violently explode. This new test data, coupled with the fact that eight of the 10 confirmed U.S. fatalities due to defective Takata airbags were in this subset of vehicles, make it abundantly obvious that a “do not drive” instruction is absolutely warranted.
Additionally, we call on you to take additional measures to make it as easy as possible for owners of these vehicles to have this dangerous defect repaired, without having to drive the vehicle to a dealership. Considering NHTSA has directed consumers “to not drive these vehicles,” we suggest Honda make available mobile mechanics who can travel to where an owner lives or works to conduct the necessary repair; or free towing to the closest repair facility, so that owners will not have to drive these high risk vehicles. As you know, there remains 313,000 vehicles with this very dangerous defect unrepaired, and we believe making such additional options available will be critical to achieving a 100 percent recall completion rate.
We urge you to immediately issue a “do not drive” instruction order, on at least this subset of cars with airbags exhibiting substantially higher risk to life. Please let us know by July 31, 2016, what actions you have taken to this end, as well as any other actions you have taken to ensure vehicles with these especially high risk air bags are immediately removed from the roads.
“The death of the actor Anton Yelchin, killed when his Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled backward down a driveway and crushed him against a mailbox pillar last weekend, has cast a public spotlight on a problem with some models of Jeeps and other Fiat Chrysler vehicles.
But for the company, there is nothing new about the issue — which federal regulators first flagged last August.
The question is why, nearly a year later, Fiat Chrysler has still not come up with a fix for the problem, which has now been linked to hundreds of accidents, dozens of injuries and now — potentially — a well-publicized death.
The company, which issued a recall notice on more than one million affected vehicles in April, will say only it is still working on a solution, there was no decision about a recall until this year and there has been no delay. It has written to federal regulators that the remedy will include a software change and “an additional mechanism to mitigate the effect of operator error.”
That solution is expected no later than July or August, a Fiat Chrysler spokesman, Eric Mayne, said on Tuesday in an email.
And yet, as far back as March, Fiat Chrysler was telling federal investigators that it already had “potential solutions.”
The problem involves an electronic gearshift, whose operation is similar to that of a video-game joystick. It has confused many drivers, who thought they had left their cars in park, only to find they were in neutral, and started rolling away after the drivers stepped out.
Rollaway accidents are particularly dangerous, and the investigation and recall are taking too long, Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, a consumer advocacy group, said on Tuesday.
Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members: The Center for Auto Safety issues release on latest Jeep fatality.
June 20, 2016
Actor’s Death is Latest Example of Inadequate Recall Response; CAS Lays Out Action Plan for Chrysler to Prevent Further Deaths and Injuries due to Transmission Defect
Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin was killed June 18 when his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee pinned him against his mailbox in a rollaway incident. Yelchin’s death is unfortunately the latest example of industry and government incompetence in the face of vehicle safety defects.
On April 22, 2016, Chrysler issued a recall of 2014-2015 Grand Cherokees, as well as 2012-14 Chrysler 300s and Dodge Chargers, in order to add an additional part to enhance the Jeeps’ monostable gear selector. The design of the monostable gear selector has been the source of much confusion for Chrysler owners, resulting in hundreds of rollaway incidents reported to both Chrysler and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Chrysler notes in its chronology that as of April 12, 2016 “FCA US has identified approximately 700 field reports potentially related to this issue which includes 212 crashes, 308 claims of property damage and 41 injuries.”
The vehicles involved had been under investigation by NHTSA since August 20, 2015, when the agency opened PE15-030. When NHTSA upgraded the investigation to EA16-002 on February 3, 2016, the agency noted 121 crashes and 30 injury incidents in its opening memo.
Despite a clear defect affecting hundreds of owners with injury and potential death, Chrysler issued a Part 577 interim notification letter to owners promising to develop a fix by the 4th quarter of 2016. Just how quickly this fix would be available to owners is unknown, and given Chrysler’s recent recall efforts in fire-prone Jeeps, owners would be potentially subject to lengthy delays when seeking a remedy.
In a letter to Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, CAS Executive Director wrote: The Center for Auto Safety calls on Chrysler to: · Notify owners not to drive these vehicles until repaired under the safety recall. · Provide free loaner or rental cars of comparable value to all owners until the vehicles are repaired under the safety recall. · For owners who cannot wait until a recall repair is available, buy the recalled vehicles by at original purchase or lease cost with deduction for use as is done under state lemon laws where the defect exists on the day the vehicle was bought. · Provide a detailed public timeline within 10 days of what is being done to make a recall remedy available, when parts will be available for all vehicles and who is doing the engineering for the recall. · Sergio Marchionne should publicly go and apologize to the family of Anton Yelchin.
Does a vehicle manufacturer bear responsibility for death and injury caused by a safety defect in their product:
and, especially do they do so when it is publicly known (in the engineering realm) that there is a solution to the problem which could — if implemented — prevent death and horrific injury?
Or, are they protected by following the letter of the law — which likewise might have been negligent to require the best possible protection?
Furthermore, if they do bear responsibility, then what price should they pay for negligence to act on that knowledge in a timely fashion?
I have been trying to look at it every which way and not merely as the mother of two daughters, AnnaLeah (forever 17) and Mary (forever 13), who happened to get killed by a truck underride crash in which the underride guard met current federal standards, and possibly even the Canadian standards, but did not make use of safer known technology and did not withstand the crash.
Is the manufacturer excused from responsibility for their deaths because it was not technically illegal (they abided by the letter of the law)?
If current and future research shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that safer underride prevention systems can, in fact, be put in place on trucks, can truck manufacturers be freed from responsibility to implement such technology due to supposed “unreasonable” costs? (A frequent reason for less-than-adequate rules to be issued — if issued at all.)
Do informed regulators who do not write into law the safest possible technology bear any responsibility?
Do informed truck purchasers who do not buy trucks with the safest possible technology (even if not required by law) bear responsibility?
I even have to ask myself if I am taking the chance of sabotaging our goal of seeking stronger federal standards by raising these controversial, potentially-inflammatory questions.
So you see, I am not struggling with easy questions. But you have to admit, don’t you, that they are questions with life & death implications.
This question of manufacturer criminal liability is addressed in a New York Times editorial today (July 21, 2015):
“The Senate bill also falls well short of addressing important issues raised by recent scandals involving defects in General Motors’ ignition switches and Takata airbags. While it would raise the maximum fine that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration can levy against automakers that do not promptly disclose defects to $70 million from $35 million, that increase is a pittance for companies that make billions in profits. And by not proposing criminal liability for executives who knowingly hide the life-threatening dangers of their products, the bill simply sidesteps the issue of individual accountability.”