Tagged Articles

roof strength 19 articles

15-passenger vans packed with deadly design flaws and risks

A number of accidents involving 15-passgenger vans have occurred in recent weeks, drawing attention to the dangerous instability and design flaws of these vehicles, which are commonly used by churches to transport members to various events. On October 3, a 15-passenger van transporting church members along a four-lane rural highway near Blakely, Georgia, blew a rear tire, careened through the median, and rolled until it came to a stop on the other side of the highway. All of the van’s passengers were ejected from the vehicle in the rollover. All received injuries and four died, including the 35-year-old pastor and ... Read More

Minnesota man freed from prison in Camry sudden acceleration case

A Minnesota judge has freed Loua Fong Lee, a Southeast Asian immigrant and father of four who was convicted in 2007 of criminal vehicular homicide after his 1996 Toyota Camry sped out of control and crashed into another vehicle, killing three people. Ramsey County District Court Judge Joanne Smith ordered Lee free from prison on Thursday pending a new trial. Ramsey County Prosecutor Susan Gaertner, however, immediately announced she would drop the charges against Lee. “Mr. Lee will be a free man,” Gaertner said in a written statement. Lee, 32, has steadfastly maintained his innocence all along, saying that his Camry ... Read More

Toyota sudden acceleration defect may exonerate imprisoned man

If ever there were a case for the “never should have happened” file, it would be the story of Koua Fong Lee, who immigrated to the United States from his Hmong tribe in Southeast Asia shortly before he lost of control of his 1996 Camry and caused a devastating crash in Minnesota. On June 10, 2006, Lee was traveling along Interstate 94 in St. Paul on his way home from church. In the car with him were his expectant wife, 4-year-old daughter, brother and father. Just before exiting, Lee’s Camry accelerated drastically to speeds of 70-90 miles per hour, ultimately ... Read More

AP investigation finds Toyota uses dishonest legal defense tactics

An Associated Press investigation has uncovered numerous examples that Toyota has relied on highly evasive, deceptive, and unethical legal tactics when defending itself against a spectrum of claims in court. The AP investigation involved an examination of lawsuits filed against Toyota throughout in the country in the past decade. The AP reviewed dozens of lawsuits that involve a range of allegations. The records show that in addition to sudden acceleration claims, Toyota has been sued for vehicle rollovers and poor roof strength, defective air bags, faulty transmissions, and braking problems. Many of the verdicts that favored Toyota in the past ... Read More

Traffic fatalities fall for fourth consecutive year

At a time when the news is full of reports of cars accelerating out of control and crashing, drivers texting behind the wheel and car roofs crushed in deadly rollovers, here’s some welcome news: the number of people killed in U.S. traffic accidents is the lowest since 1954. According to the Transportation Department’s estimates, the total number of traffic deaths in the U.S. fell nearly nine percent last year from 37,261 to 33,963. The latest numbers represent the continuation of a downward trend that has been in place since 2005, when annual traffic fatalities peaked at 43,510. Transportation Secretary Ray ... Read More

Are you safe in a minicar?

The words “fuel economy” pack more appeal for American car buyers than any other time in automotive history. Motivated by financial strains to cut costs and inspired by the Green Revolution to reduce fuel consumption, millions of Americans are turning to smaller and smaller car models. But are mini and micro size cars, which are so common on European streets, safe for people to use on American roads and interstates? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently completed testing the smallest cars on the American market. Every year, the non-profit IIHS crash tests and thoroughly evaluates a number of ... Read More

CBS reports Toyota destroyed evidence in rollover, roof crush cases

An investigative report by CBS reveals the lengths some big corporations will go to conceal evidence that casts the company and its products in a dubious light. The report features Dimitrios Biller, a former attorney for Toyota, who accuses the car manufacturer of withholding and destroying evidence in more than 300 rollover and roof crush lawsuits. Biller alleges Toyota took measures to hide evidence “of its vehicles’ structural shortcomings,” an effort which he claims amounted to a “ruthless conspiracy.” Biller, who once served as the managing counsel for Toyota Motor Sales USA, filed a federal racketeering suit against Toyota on ... Read More

NHTSA doubles roof crush standards

After being bogged down by bureaucracy and industry concerns for years, federal automobile roof crush standards finally became tougher. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the new roof strength standards last week. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that the new standards, which are double the current standards for vehicles weighing up to 6,000 pounds, “will significantly strengthen vehicle roof standards and improve rollover crash protection.” Current standards require vehicle roofs to withstand 1.5 times the vehicle’s weight, and not necessarily in a rollover situation but in a static roof crush test which applies a steady force to the ... Read More

IIHS puts first 12 vehicles through new roof crush rating system

In February, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety raised the bar on the auto industry, announcing that it would require automobiles to withstand 4 times their own weight in a static roof crush test to qualify as contenders for the institute’s highest vehicle safety ranking. The test, also known as strength-to-weight ratio, has made the IIHS “Top Safety Pick” rating a little harder to earn. But that is good news for the consumer, as the auto industry covets good IIHS grades. Car manufacturers generally will work harder and make the improvements they need to make in order to earn higher ... Read More

Safety advocates hopeful about future auto roof crush standards

Consumer and safety advocates nationwide are praising President Obama’s reported nomination of Chuck Hurley to serve as the next leader of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – the government agency that sets the standards for automobile roof crush strength. Actually, setting roof crush standards is not something the NHTSA has done much of since 1971 — the year it established the alarmingly weak standards that are still on the books today. Safety advocates hope that Hurley will overhaul the weak standards, which were written so many decades ago, by the auto companies and for the auto companies. Hurley has ... Read More