February 28, 2010

Collisions with Trains kills Teenagers in Pennsylvania and Florida

This week, two fatal train collisions claimed the lives of five teenagers. The first of the incidents occurred in Melbourne Florida, which claimed the lives of three teenage girls horsing around on the tracks. The fourth, a boy was able to escape just in time. After ignoring no trespass signs and a verbal warning from a fisherman, the train was upon the teens before they even had time to move.

The second tragedy occurred near Philadelphia when a high speed Amtrak train from Boston to Washington, D.C. struck and killed two teenage girls who were supposed to be at school, but had left at some point and were on the train tracks near the school around 10:30a.m. when they were struck. A third girl with them reported the accident. (AP for FindLaw, 2/25).

These two tragedies should remind us all of the need to take extra precaution around train tracks. As a personal injury lawyer, I am saddened by these scenarios, but both incidents illustrate the need to take seriously the dangerous surrounding train tracks, especially for teenagers. Each year, several incidents similar to these occur when fun gets taken just one step too far.

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February 21, 2010

Although there were fewer plane crashes in 2009, death toll higher

Joan Lowy reports, although, “fewer airline crashes occurred around the world in 2009 than during the previous year… deaths were up” (Washington AP, 2/18). 2009 saw five fewer airline fatal accidents than 2008 with 18 and 23, respectively, according to the International Air Transportation Association. However, of the 18 incidents in 2009, 685 fatalities resulted compared with 502 in 2009.

The 2009 accident rate landed at “0.7 accidents per million flights,” which was the second lowest ever reported. This may be surprising to many who recall several major plane crashes that received substantial media attention, however, three accidents accounted for most of the death toll: a June Air France flight, a June Yemeni Airways flight, and a July Russia to Armenia flight.

The most promising news “is that the current accident rate is only about half what it was in the 1990s, thanks in part to technology advancements, said Jim Burin, director of technical programs at the Flight Safety Foundation, an international aviation safety organization in Alexandria, Va.”

As a personal injury lawyer in Chicago, I am hopeful that continued technological innovations will continue to make flying even safer in the years to come.

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February 21, 2010

Honda Expands Air Bag Recall to nearly 400,000 More Cars

Perhaps taking some pressure off its competitor, Toyota, in the recall hot seat, Honda has announced that it is “recalling 378,000 additional vehicles because the driver’s side air bag may deploy too forcefully, causing an injury or death.” (New York Times, Jensen, 2/9). Last year, Honda recalled 440,000 vehicles for the same reason, which expanded an earlier recall affecting few thousand vehicles in 2008.

The expanded recall affects 2001-2 Accord, Civic, Odyssey and CR-V models, and some 2002 Acura TLs. As always, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration website, is the best place for detailed and updated information.
Thus far, he automaker has admitted it was aware of 12 accidents stemming from airbag issues that caused at least one fatality.

Honda has been the subject of an NTSHA investigation, which said it was evaluating the “timeliness” of Honda’s recalls. The agency noted “failure to respond promptly, truthfully and completely could subject Honda to significant civil penalties.” As a car and truck accident lawyer in Chicagoland, I think it is important to note that prompt recalls are the responsibility of automakers. If Honda unduly delayed recalling vehicles it knew were defective, sanctions should follow.

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February 21, 2010

Honda Expands Air Bag Recall to nearly 400,000 More Cars

Perhaps taking some pressure off its competitor, Toyota, in the recall hot seat, Honda has announced that it is “recalling 378,000 additional vehicles because the driver’s side air bag may deploy too forcefully, causing an injury or death.” (New York Times, Jensen, 2/9). Last year, Honda recalled 440,000 vehicles for the same reason, which expanded an earlier recall affecting few thousand vehicles in 2008.

The expanded recall affects 2001-2 Accord, Civic, Odyssey and CR-V models, and some 2002 Acura TLs. As always, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration website, is the best place for detailed and updated information.
Thus far, he automaker has admitted it was aware of 12 accidents stemming from airbag issues that caused at least one fatality.

Honda has been the subject of an NTSHA investigation, which said it was evaluating the “timeliness” of Honda’s recalls. The agency noted “failure to respond promptly, truthfully and completely could subject Honda to significant civil penalties.” As a car and truck accident lawyer in Chicagoland, I think it is important to note that prompt recalls are the responsibility of automakers. If Honda unduly delayed recalling vehicles it knew were defective, sanctions should follow.

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February 14, 2010

Toyota’s Problems not over – the company was hit by over 100 Prius brake complaints

Although the Toyota incident has been well covered in the news, a recall that has become so expansive deserves attention. Unfortunately, it appears as though Toyota was not as proactive as it should have been with problems with which it was aware. As a personal injury attorney, companies who fail to fix problems that they are aware of until it is too late and many consumers have been hurt infuriate me as both a lawyer and a consumer.

Shino Yuasa reports, “Toyota Motor Corp. has been hit by over 100 complaints in the U.S. and Japan about brake problems with the popular Prius hybrid, the latest in a spate of quality troubles for the automaker as it grapples with massive global recalls” (AP for FindLaw, 2/3). The brake problems come shortly after accelerator pedals sticking and floor mat issues received much media attention.

Rightfully so, Toyota’s sales have plummeted in the United States and the company is beginning to see sales repercussions abroad. For a company that has, for many years, been known for high quality and safe cars, this hit is both careless and devastating.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received about 100 complaints involving the brakes of the Prius new model. Two involved crashes resulting in injuries. The NHTSA is launching an official investigation on the automaker, and, as always, their website is a reliable source for recall information. Please take this recall seriously and take any precautions that are necessary to ensure the safety of all those on the roadways.

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February 7, 2010

Growing Anger, Frustration, and Confusion among Toyota Drivers

As Toyota executives have been less than forthcoming about the issues surrounding the recalls, their consumers are becoming increasingly more agitated as many have invested in new, nice, and what they thought were safe cars, only to be fearful of driving them to the point that they are beginning to turn to rental cars. Since Tuesday, “when the Japanese automaker said it would stop making and selling some of its top-selling models, the company has had few answers for dealers and drivers - most notably when Toyota owners could get their cars fixed and hit the road without worrying” (AP for FindLaw, McClam and Fredrix, 1/29).

"I'm stuck with this car," said Tony Raasch of Hales Corners, Wisconsin, who collided with another driver in his 2010 Corolla two weeks ago when the car suddenly accelerated. "I really don't know what to do. I just feel - I guess - ripped off is the best way to put it."

Almost certainly multiplying consumer frustrations, “Toyota is sending new gas pedal systems to its factories, not to dealerships that want the parts to take care of customers' cars.” On Friday, the company said that details regarding the solutions to the acceleration problem will be made available next week and should take about a month to implement. Of course, drivers do not have a month to be without their Toyota for daily uses.

However, as a Chicago car and truck accident attorney, I urge drivers to take this recall seriously. No matter how frustrating and inconvenient it may be, it is imperative to take the necessary precautions to avoid unnecessary injuries.

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