Articles Posted in Auto Safety

iStock_000012404949Small.jpgAs you may be aware, General Motors has recalled several of their models because the ignition switch may move from the “on” or “run” position causing the engine to lose power.

According to GM, the risk of an engine shut-down increases if the driver’s key ring has additional keys besides the key fob on the key ring. The engine can also shut off if a driver is driving on rough roads.

Imagine how frightening it must be for motorists speeding down the highway to have their engine shut off.

One of the other risks of this defect is that the airbags may not deploy in a car accident.

GM says the ignition switch problem is linked to 31 car accidents and 12 deaths in the U.S. and one fatal car accident in Canada.

In all, nearly 2.5 million vehicles have been recalled including:

  • 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5
  • 2003-2007 Saturn Ion
  • 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHR
  • 2005-2006 Pontiac Pursuit (Canada)
  • 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice
  • 2007 Saturn Sky vehicles
  • 2008 – 2010 Pontiac Solstice and G5
  • 2008-2010 Saturn Sky
  • 2008-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt
  • 2008-2011 Chevrolet HHR.

U.S. Senator Richard Bllumenthal has started a petition asking GM “ground” or refrain driving driving any vehicle on the recalled list until the ignition switch has been replaced saying that the vehicles pose a safety hazard.

Some drivers are opting to drive their vehicle with no ignition keys attached.

Numerous lawsuits have been filed against GM due to the defective ignition switch.

The Farber Law Group is available to answer your legal questions if your car accident was caused by a defect in your vehicle. The Farber Law Group has more than 30 years experience in complex civil litigation and works to obtain settlements on behalf of individuals who were harmed by large corporations.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.
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mobile-phone-in-hand-1438233-3-m.jpgThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has two cell phone apps which allow drivers to register their vehicle so that they can be notofied if a safety issue is discovered.

In addition, the app allows owners to submit safety concerns to the NHTSA.

Apps are available in both Apple and Android versions.

Nissan motor company has issued a recall of 1 million motor vehicles because the front passenger-side air bags may not deploy in a motor vehicle accident.

According to the Recall notice on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 2013 model year vehicles are part of the recall:
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The problem involves the Occupant Classification System (OCS) software erroneously classifying the front passenger seat as empty when there may actually be a person sitting in the seat.

Owners of the recalled vehicles will be notified in mid-April and they can bring their vehicle in to have the OCS reprogrammed.

airbag.jpgAirbags

Airbags have been standard in all passenger vehicles since 1998 and the save lives by cushioning the driver and front passengers from coming into contact with the windshield, dashboard or steering wheel which may prevent serious injuries.

Airbags and lap/shoulder safety belts are effective to protect occupants in the case of a car crash and are 75% effective in preventing traumatic brain injury or preventing serious chest injuries.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents and the family of those killed.
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bellevue car accident lawyerSome good news from the Centers from Disease Control: the percentage of children age 12 or under killed in motor vehicle accidents has fallen by 43% between 2002 and 2011. The number of fatal car accidents has been declining over the past decade but still more can be done.

The unfortunate news is that during that same period, 9,000 children were killed. Many of these deaths could have been prevented because a significant number of the children killed were not buckled up in appropriate child restraints such as car seats, booster seats or car seat belts.

Educating parents may be a very important factor in reducing child car accident deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 45% of the black children , 46% of the Hispanic children and 26% of white children killed in car accidents between 2009 and 2010 were not restrained.

Parents and caregivers can protect children by making sure that children are not only restrained but in an age appropriate restraint.

  • Birth to 2 years of age: rear-facing car seat
  • 2 to at least 5 years of age: forward-facing car seat
  • 5 years of age up: booster seat until the child outgrows it
  • Seat belts can be used once a child has grown so it fits appropriately with the seat belt corossing the upper things and the shoulder belt across the chest
  • All children under the age of 12 should ride in the rear seat.

Parents and caregivers should take the time to buckle their children up no matter how short the trip.

Washington state seat belt legislation

In Washington state, the legislature has made the seat belt law, RCW 46.61.688, a primary offense, meaning that law enforcement can stop a driver and cite them a violation if he or she observes a child not buckled up.

Washington enacted seat belt legislation in June of 1986 and imposes a $124 fine for failing to abide by the law. Washington has one of the highest percentage of compliance with seatbelt laws at 97.6%.

In Washington, children are required to be restrained in a child safety seat until age 8 or until they are at least 4’9″ tall. In addition, all children under the age of 13 should be in the rear seat if practical.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents caused by the negligence of another.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.
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crashed-car-921217-m.jpgThe Insurance Institute for Highway Safety began conducting frontal overlap crash tests in 2012. In these tests, the Institute tests how well a vehicle traveling 40 mph will protect a passenger if it hits a barrier in the front 25% of the front (the outer edges) of the vehicle.

In a small frontal overlap crash, a wheel of the vehicle can be forced into the foot-well of the passenger compartment leaving the driver with serious leg and foot injuries.

Since the IIHS testing began, car manufacturers have responded and improved the design of many of their models to do well in these types of car accidents.

Unfortunately, according to a new report by the IIHS, there is one class of car that is not rated well and that is mini cars.

Only 1 of 11 mini cars tested pass small overlap frontal crash tests
Mini cars were the worst performing group of vehicles in the frontal overlap crash tests of any groups tested.

Mini cars include the2013 and 2014 models of the Chevrolet Spark, Mazda 2, Kia Rio, Toyota Yaris, 2014 Ford Fiesta (after August 2013), 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage, Nissan Versa sedan, Toyota Prius C, Hyundai Accent, Fiat 500 and the 2013 Honda Fit.

Only the Chevrolet Spark received an Acceptable rating in recent testing. The other mini cars received a Marginal or Poor rating.

It is important in an accident that the occupant space remain intact so that the airbags and the restraint systems can do their jobs. If the occupant space is intruded on in an accident, then the passengers are at risk of serious injury or even death.

The Fiat 500 performed especially poor in testing with the door coming off of its hinges and open. Car doors should never open in a accident because the occupants risk being ejected.

If you are in the market for new vehicle, we suggest you check the IIHS.org website to peruse the ratings of the vehicles you are considering purchasing.
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We are finally seeing some snow in the Cascade mountains which has resulted in intermittent closures of both Interstate 90 and U.S. Highway 2. You may be traveling across the passes to visit family, for work or to enjoy some skiing but it is important that you take some safety precautions before you travel. Our Washington car accident lawyers discuss some important tips to promote safe travel over Snoqualmie and Stevens passes.

Tips for Washington drivers for crossing mountain passes

pass_report.jpg

  1. Check the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) website before traveling over the mountain passes. The WSDOT website provides a pass report which includes driving restrictions, road conditions and live webcam views of the highway. It also includes information on construction delays.
  2. If the weather reports indicate that there is heavy snow on the passes, postpone your travel if possible. Often, the weather can change in a few hours providing you a better window in which to drive.
  3. Make sure your fuel tank is full before crossing the passes. Sometimes traffic will stop for snow removal or avalanche control or the pass may suddenly close due to an accident and you’ll want enough fuel to be able to run your heater and then continue on your journey once the pass is open again.
  4. Stock your car with blankets and snacks and water before crossing beginning journey in case the pass is closed for an extended time. Pack extra diapers for any infants or small children.
  5. Check your tire pressure and pack your chains if you do not have all-wheel drive.

Tips for driving on icy and snowy roads

  1. Slow down and drive for the current road conditions. Do not accelerate quickly.
  2. Turn on your headlights.
  3. Do not use cruise control.
  4. Give yourself plenty of stopping distance. Remember that even if you have an all-wheel driver or four-wheel drive, it still takes plenty of room to stop on ice.
  5. Leave room between your vehicle and other vehicles.
  6. Be extra cautious when driving over bridges, off ramps and at intersections.
  7. Resist the urge to pass a snowplow until you are absolutely sure it is safe.
  8. Watch for pedestrians and cars that are stopping for chain-up and chain-removal areas.

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breathalyzer.jpgWashington state is following the lead of North Dakota and is implementing a new 24/7 alcohol monitoring program beginning January 1st. The new program will take effect in Chelan County, Spokane County and Thurston County and in two cities, Kent and Centralia.

The 24/7 program allows a judge to order a person who is charged with their second Driving Under the Influence (DUI) to be placed into a pilot program which requires the driver to wear a high-tech bracelet which detects the presence of alcohol or check in with a police station twice a day for a breathalyzer test.

The theory behind the program is to keep repeat offenders from drinking. Those that fail the test will be jailed.

Not every offender is eligible for the program but willing participants must agree to both the intensive monitoring and treatment.

The high-tech bracelet is especially effective for DUI offenders who are alcohol dependent. The device tests the alcohol level through the skin, or transdermally, via their skin.

The program is aimed at taking hardcore drunk drivers off of the road as they are the most dangerous drivers. In fact, a third of all drivers arrested on DUI charges have had multiple arrests. Often these drivers drive with a blood alcohol limit of .15 or higher at least once a month. These offenders are often resistant to changing their behavior.

In South Dakota, the program led to 12% fewer repeat DUI arrests in the counties where it was utilized.

Offenders who enter the program must pay the costs which amounts to $4/day for a breathalyzer test and $12/day for a high tech bracelet.

While the rate of deaths associated with drunk driving has steadily declined, the goal is to have zero deaths. Every year, there are more than 1.4 million arrests and 1.1 million DUI convictions in the U.S. Hopefully, programs such as the 24/7 program will reduce the number of repeat offenders.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a series of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured due to the negligence of others. If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury, you may be seeking answers to your legal questions. Contact us for a free and confidential case evaluation.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.
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top_safety.jpgThe Insurance Institute for Highway Safety just provided a list of their TOP SAFETY PICK and TOP SAFETY PICK+ awards for model year 2014. The institute has raised the bar for safety and now requires that a vehicle receive a “good” or an “acceptable” in the small overlap front crash tests as well as good ratings in the front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests.

To earn a TOP SAFETY PICK+ award, a vehicle must perform well in crash tests and also provide crash avoidance technology.

Frontal overlap crash tests determine how well front passengers are protected in car accidents in which 25% of a vehicle’s front end collides with a fixed object such as a telephone pole or tree or another vehicle.

TOP SAFETY PICK+ Awards
Small Cars: Honda Civic 4-door, Mazda 3 (built after 10/13), Toyota Prius (built after 11/13)
Midsize moderately priced: Ford Fusion, Honda Accord 2-door, Honda Accord 4-door, Mazda 6, Subaru Legacy, Subaru Outback Midsize Luxury: Infinity Q50, Lincoln MKZ, Volvo S60 Large Luxury Cars: Acura RLX, Volvo S80 Small SUVs: Mazda CS-5 (built after 10/13), Mitsubishi Outlander, Subaru Forester Midsize SUV: Toyota Highlander Midsize Luxury SUVs: Acura MDX, Mercedes-Benz M-Class (built after 08/13), Volvo XC60 Minivan: Honda Odyssey
TOP SAFETY PICK
Minicar: Chevrolet Spark Small cars: Dodge Dart, Ford Focus, Honda Civic 2-door, Hyundai Elantra, Scion tC, Subaru Impreza, Subaru XV Crosstek Midsize moderately priced cars: Chrysler 200 4-door, Dodge Avenger, Kia Optima, Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry (built after 12/13), Volkswagen Passat Midsize luxury/near luxury: Acura TL Small SUV: Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Midsize Luxury SUVs: Volvo XC90
See the Institute for Highway Safety website for information on their testing criteria.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We recommend you keep safety in mind when buying or leasing a new car.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist Continue reading

Some states are seeing a decline in the use of child safety seats, especially among older children. Washington state law requires children to be buckled into a car seat or booster seat until they reach eight years of age or 4’9″ tall. This is a disturbing trend that we hope does not continue.

While some parents or caregivers neglect to buckle children up, others are not properly installing car seats. The most common mistake that parents make is not installing a rear-facing seat at the proper angle. Another common mistake is not properly placing the shoulder belt across the shoulder and chest. Some studies suggest that 1 in 3 car seats are not installed properly.

Winter car seat safety

Winter months make can make car seat fit especially problematic because bulky coats and winter gear can affect the car seat straps. Straps should be fitted snugly across a child but a coat or snow suit creates spaces which can allow a child to shift in the seat if the car stops abruptly. It can also result in a child being ejected from the car seat in a car accident.

It is recommended that children should be buckled up in no more than a sweatshirt or sweater. Use can use the winter coat for a blanket or use a car seat cover.

If you would like help in insuring your child’s car seat is properly fitted, see www.carsafekids.org for information on child safety seat inspection stations. Many of our local hospitals have then including Overlake Hospital, Seattle Children’s Hospital, and Evergreen Hospital.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents and the family of those killed.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.
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The first big winter storm of the season is on its way and traveling over the Cascades either via Interstate 90 or U.S. 2 could be treacherous. The National Weather Service predicts five to 8 inches of rain and a cold front which could reduce visibility and create some “ponding” on the highway.

Water on the highway can create a situation called “hydroplaning” in which a vehicle loses traction. In a hydroplane situation a vehicle slides uncontrollably on a road covered in water. It is important that if you feel your car start to hydroplane that you do not panic. Resist the urge to brake or accelerate. Braking can cause the rear tires to loock and your car to spin out of control. Sudden acceleration could also cause your vehicle to leave the roadway.

Do not use your cruise control in situations where there is heavy rain. During heavy rain, the cruise control may suddenly accelerate as the water slows the vehicle down.