Here at Hastings & Hastings, accident prevention is one of our primary missions. We have spent over 35 years diligently and tireless protecting the rights of accident victims here in the Valley of the Sun. We understand that suffering an accident can impact your life for years down the road. Severe accidents may even change your life forever.
We understand that accident victims need something more than a lawyer who is just there to help them cash a check. Accident victims need someone who can help them put their life back together. At Hastings & Hastings, we shoulder the burden of handling all legal and insurance matters for you. We handle all communication with the authorities, the other parties involved in the accident, the insurance companies, and any other entities that may become part of your case. We do this so that you can focus on the important business of recovery. As a client focused law firm, everything we do is centered on you.
While we do everything we can to help you reassemble the broken pieces of your life following an accident, we know there is no going back in time. We cannot make it as if the accident never happened. What we can do is reemphasize our commitment to accident prevention. With that idea in mind, we would like to address five of the most important safety concerns currently facing individuals. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
Continental Automotive Systems Airbag Recall
Continental Automotive Systems, a German company that manufactures and supplies electronic components that control vehicle airbags has recently announced a massive recall of defective airbags. It is believed that this recall could affect as many as 5 million vehicles. Honda and Fiat Chrysler are among automakers who known to be participating in the recall.
The defective airbags contain semiconductors which corrode over time. This may cause the airbags to either deploy inadvertently or fail to deploy entirely in the event of an accident. Continental Automotive Systems first became aware of this defect in 2008. A spokesman for Continental Automotive Systems stated they informed automakers of the defect in 2008 and that it was then up to the automakers to initiate a full recall of the defective airbags. According to federal regulations, a manufacturer must report a safety concern to the proper regulating body within five business days of discovering the issue. In this case, the regulating body is the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration.
It is further believed that vehicles manufactured by Volvo Trucks and Mazda may feature the defective airbags. To date, neither manufacturer has issued a recall although Mazda has stated that it is investigating the issue.
At least nine injuries have been directly linked to the defective Continental Automotive Systems airbags. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration began an inquiry into the matter in August 2015 as a result of an accident involving a 2008 Honda Accord, which was brought to court. The accident had occurred three years earlier.
According to Continental’s records, they first became aware of the defect in 2008 when they analyzed a Daimler whose owner reported that the airbag warning light remained illuminated even after maintenance. Continental reported that the defective part was fixed in 2008. However, the part number assigned to the airbags was not updated, so automakers were unaware of the fix.
Honda has reported recalling 341,000 Accords, model years 2009 and 2010.
Vehicles recalled by Fiat Chrysler include the 2008-2009 Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Town & Country, 2009 Dodge Journey, and Volkswagen Routan.
Individuals who believe they may have an affected vehicle should inquire with their manufacture at the earliest convenience.
Child Passenger Safety Laws
As fall ends, summer settles in, and schools close, the number of child passengers on the road rises steadily. There is no better time to address the very important topic of child passenger safety. Standard vehicle safety features such as seatbelts and airbags are not properly designed to keep children and infants safe. In fact, deployed airbags can harm or even kill a child. This summer, make sure you are aware of child passenger safety laws.
Although child passenger safety is not regulated by federal law, all states and territories have a law regulating child passenger safety. Further, all states and territories have laws stating that safety seats must be used for infants and children. The exact criteria of these laws will vary from state to state. Typically, the regulations will dictate age, weight, and height requirements which a child must meet before they can ride as passengers without a child safety seat. All states but Florida and South Dakota require children who have outgrown safety seats to use booster seats until they are large enough to use a standard adult seat belt. Next, we will discuss specific child passenger safety laws here in Arizona.
From birth to the age of one or for any weight under 20 pounds, infants are required to use infant only rear-facing safety restraints.
From age one to five or for any weight between 20 and 40 pounds, children are required to use forward-facing safety seats.
From age five to eight or for any weight between 40 and 80 pounds, children are required to use a booster seat.
Once children graduate from the booster seat they are required to use standard seatbelts.
The first-time penalty for violating child passenger safety laws in Arizona is a fine of $50 and one point against the driver’s license. Fines will rise with repeated violations.
Ikea Issues Safety Warning
Ikea has repeated safety warnings regarding its Malm budget furniture range after a third child was crushed to death as a result of a chest of drawers falling on him. In this latest incident, 22-month-old Ted McGee, who had been put down for a nap, woke, wondered over to the chest of drawers and tipped it over onto himself. His mother stated she had been checking on him every twenty minutes. The statement issued by Ikea noted that the chest of drawers was not affixed to the wall. It reiterated the importance of this safety measure.
This most recent death came after two other independent incidents in 2014 involving a two-year-old and a 23-month-old. Federal safety regulators have begun an investigation into the accident. Ikea has stated that millions of the Malm budget furniture chests may be at risk for tipping and falling. The company stated:
“We wish to emphasize that the best way to prevent tip-over of chests of drawers is to attach products to the wall with the included restraints and hardware per the assembly instructions. Ikea has included restraints with our chest of drawers for decades, and wall attachment is an integral part of the assembly instructions.”
Drowning Awareness and Prevention
It is not even summer, and there have already been 17 drowning deaths in Maricopa and Pinal Counties in 2016. Of these 17 deaths, 5 of them were children under the age of 5. Drowning deaths are tragic and almost completely avoidable. And yet, every year, many Phoenix children tragically die due to drowning.
Most drowning occur in the backyard pool. For this reason, pool safety is of paramount importance. Proper pool safety is built upon three primary pillars: block, watch, and learn.
Block: It is essential that there is a proper barrier around a pool or spa. This barrier should be up regardless even if the pool/spa is covered. Further, and windows or doors leading outside should be kept locked at all times. Finally, barriers such as fences should have self-closing, self-latching gates. The latches must be placed high out of the reach of children.
Watch: Children should never be left unsupervised around a pool or spa for even one second. Keep toys away from any bodies of water. Do not assume children are drown-proof even if they have had swimming lessons. Finally, do not be lulled into a false sense of security by barriers or fences.
Learn: Finally, teach your children to swim. Learn how to perform lifesaving techniques such as CPR and mouth-to-mouth. Education children on the dangers of drowning. Teach them proper safety procedures as well, such as calling emergency services.
If you would like to learn more about accident prevention or if have been involved in an accident, contact Hastings & Hastings today to schedule a free consultation and begin exploring your legal options.