While relatively rare, seatback failures have been injuring and killing people for decades. According to one estimate, roughly 50 children have been killed each year since 2001 in rear-end crashes, and experts say that some of those fatalities were likely from front seats collapsing backwards.
Since 2016, General Motors has fought orders to replace allegedly defective Takata airbags in over six million of its pickup trucks and SUVs, arguing in a series of petitions that the recall is unnecessary because the airbags are safe. Four years after receiving the first of the petitions, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has yet to rule on them, leaving owners of the vehicles in limbo.
In January 2019, Jason Henke was riding in his ROV in Arizona when it caught fire on the highway. According to a lawsuit Henke filed, this was the second time a Polaris vehicle he was riding burst into flames. When the first machine went up in smoke in 2015, Henke asked Polaris for a refund, which the lawsuit says the company refused.
Fifteen years ago, the federal government said “no” to piracetam.
This was a proposed new ingredient that a company had hoped to market as a dietary supplement. In 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejected the company’s application, citing “concerns about the evidence” that supposedly showed piracetam was safe.
Nearly two years ago, Jeremiah Mock heard a student in Marin County, California, complain that her school was littered with e-cigarette waste. A health anthropologist by training, Mock did some shoe-leather investigating in a student parking lot, where he found a significant amount of e-cigarette and tobacco trash.
Surprised, Mock went further.
Last October, Erick Solis, a 19-year-old temp worker at a Los Angeles food company, lost two fingers when his hand got caught in an unguarded dough-rolling machine.
Cal/OSHA, the state job safety agency, cited the company, JSL Foods Inc., for willful violations because an almost identical accident had happened before.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission is struggling to contain the fallout from a data breach involving thousands of companies, highlighting the tension between the agency’s mandate to protect consumers and to prevent reputational damage to product makers.
Last August, Higinio Romero was working on the roof of a condo in South Florida when he slipped and fell two stories, landing on rocks below. Emergency workers found him unconscious and bleeding from his ears. Romero — a father of two children, 4 months old and 10 years old — died about an hour later. According to a sheriff’s report, he had unclipped his safety harness shortly before the fall.
Since the early 1980s, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has conducted a grim census, tracking reports of deaths from crashes of all-terrain vehicles, or ATVs. Now the body count has risen above 15,250, according to the agency’s latest annual report, with more than one in five of the deaths suffered by children under 16.
After a Florida driver was killed in a crash in 2016 while his Tesla was in “Autopilot” mode, regulators assured the public that Tesla’s autonomous driving system was safe. An investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that after a key component called Autosteer was added, crash rates in Tesla cars had dropped.