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FAIR WARNING: DANGEROUS SEATBACK FAILURES, WIGINGTON INTERVIEW

Sep 04, 2020

Fair Warning is a nationally respected nonprofit news organization focusing upon public health, consumer, workplace and environmental issues. The Center for Auto Safety is a non-profit consumer advocacy group dedicated to vehicle safety and quality.

On September 2, 2020, Fair Warning published an article by Eli Wolfe entitled “Safety Advocates Assail Lack of Federal Action on Weak Vehicle Seats.” It was shared later that day by the Center for Auto Safety on its website and picked up by Salon Magazine on September 9, 2020.

The lack of standardized seat strength requirements for automakers to include in seats placed in motor vehicles manufactured and/or sold in the United States continues to be a danger for both drivers and passengers, as reported by Fair Warning. Seats are likely to fail in the impact of a crash, with the collision’s force collapsing the seatback and endangering the lives of both its occupant and others in the vehicle.

Fair Warning’s attempts to get a response from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as well as several car manufacturers were stonewalled. However, the extent of this problem and the risk facing Americans today was addressed by respected safety advocates, including Jeff Wigington of Wigington Rumley Dunn & Blair LLP (quoting from the article):

“Each individual manufacturer has their own internal seatback standard,” said Jeff Wigington, a Texas-based attorney who has handled numerous seatback lawsuits, including a high-profile case against Audi. “The problem is that unless you have a lawsuit against them for a seatback that collapsed, you’re not going to be privy to that information … You could have a situation where the manufacturer’s standard is 10 percent better than the federal regulation, or 50 percent better, or twice as good—you just don’t know.”