NHTSA Once Again Misses the Mark On Securing Child Passengers

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NHTSA Once Again Misses the Mark On Securing Child Passengers 

For Immediate Release: November 12, 2008

Contact: Amaya Smith or Jen Fuson
202.965.3500, ext. 8369

Preemption Language Would Give Car Manufacturers Immunity

Washington, DC—NHTSA’s new proposed rule does nothing to protect children from being injured in car crashes according to the American Association for Justice (AAJ.)  AAJ filed comments today advising National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to remove language stating that its rule could potentially preempt state law.

To date, NHTSA has proposed 18 different rules that include unprecedented preemption language that could be interpreted to preempt state law claims.  In the case of this proposed rule, families with children who are seriously or fatally injured in a car crash due to faulty seatbelts or child restraints would have no legal recourse.  Instead the rule attempts to protect negligent car manufacturers from lawsuits.

“NHTSA has already been warned by Congress that preemption language does nothing to ensure the safety of America’s passengers,” said AAJ President Les Weisbrod.  “Even more bizarre is the fact that NHTSA’s proposed rule is a minor procedural change to an older rule which has no mention of preemption.”

“This further proves that NHTSA has disregarded the agency’s history of protecting consumers and respecting state law.”

Read a copy of AAJ’s comments on NHTSA’s proposed rule here.

Read a copy of NHTSA’s proposed rule on occupant crash protection here.

As the world's largest trial bar, the American Association for Justice (formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America) works to make sure people have a fair chance to receive justice through the legal system when they are injured by the negligence or misconduct of others—even when it means taking on the most powerful corporations. Visit http://www.justice.org/newsroom.

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