Speed Limiters for Big Rigs

Speed Limiters for Big Rigs

After Moving at a Crawl, U.S. Revs Up Interest in Slowing Heavy Trucks and Buses

For more than a decade, most large commercial trucks have been equipped with electronic technology that can limit the speed at which they hurtle down the nation’s highways. But federal officials have not required the devices to be switched on, despite requests by safety advocates as well as by the industry’s top trade group, the…

Maker of Drain-Cleaning Fluid Getting Steady Drip of Complaints About Acid Burns

Maker of Drain-Cleaning Fluid Getting Steady Drip of Complaints About Acid Burns

On the afternoon of June 30, Michael Taillard and his wife and four kids emerged from the Shop-N-Save in Benzonia, Mich., with a shopping cart full of groceries. On the lower rack sat a 128-ounce bottle of Rooto Professional Drain Opener, a powerful cleaner made almost entirely of sulfuric acid and sold in a protective,…

FairWarning Investigates

Recycling is a Feel Good Activity, But Not for Workers Hurt or Killed on the Job FairWarining Investigates

Recycling is a Feel Good Activity, But Not for Workers Hurt or Killed on the Job

Darkness had enveloped the Newell Recycling yard by the time Erik Hilario climbed into a front-end loader on a cold evening in January 2011. Just 19 years old, Hilario, an undocumented immigrant, had followed his father from Mexico to an industrial park in East Point, Ga., near Atlanta, where they worked as low-skilled laborers amid jagged piles of scrap metal bound for the smelter.

Hilario drove to a paved section of the nine-acre yard known as the defueling or car-processing area. Here, according to witnesses in a court case, gasoline was removed from junked cars through a crude process employing a 30-foot crane and ...

Regulators, Automakers Urged to Warn Parents About Flawed Seats FairWarining Investigates

Regulators, Automakers Urged to Warn Parents About Flawed Seats

Freakish as it may have seemed, the accident that killed 13-month-old Weston Kingsley was hardly unforeseeable.

On the day he died in February 2014, he was buckled into his car seat behind his father, Jonathon Kingsley, who was at the wheel of the family minivan. Jonathon and his wife, Kelsey, of Old Fort, N.C., were driving the older of their two boys to Sunday school.

As they waited to turn left into the church parking lot, a pickup rammed their 2003 Dodge Caravan from behind, according to court papers. The impact caused Jonathon Kingsley’s seat to collapse backward. Weston was bashed in the head and ...

Thousands of Drones Fill the Skies, Raising Fears of Midair Collisions FairWarining Investigates

Thousands of Drones Fill the Skies, Raising Fears of Midair Collisions

Editor's note: See the update at the bottom of this story.

On a Saturday night in early December, while relaxing at his Martinez, Calif., home, Chinese exchange student Owen Ouyang decided to have some fun. He went out to the front yard and launched a sleek new drone he had recently purchased online for about $1,000.

The 2.8-pound drone, advertised as “easy to fly,” proved anything but. Soon after takeoff, the drone veered dangerously toward a power line. It then climbed more than 700 feet – right into the path of a California Highway Patrol helicopter. A head-on collision was averted ...

Racial Politics Flavor Debate Over Banning Menthol Cigarettes FairWarining Investigates

Racial Politics Flavor Debate Over Banning Menthol Cigarettes

Lorillard Tobacco donated nearly four times as much to Republican candidates as to Democrats in the 2014 congressional elections. No surprise there — most businesses count on Republicans to hold the line on regulations and taxes.

But Lorillard made a striking exception for one set of Democrats: African Americans. It gave campaign cash to half of all black members of Congress, as opposed to just one in 38 non-black Democrats, according to an analysis by FairWarning of records from the Center for Responsive Politics. To put it another way, black lawmakers, all but one of whom are Democrats, were 19 times as likely as ...

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FairWarning Reports

Even Furniture That Meets Industry Standards Can Tip Over and Kill Kids, Report Says FairWarining Reports

Even Furniture That Meets Industry Standards Can Tip Over and Kill Kids, Report Says

Furniture manufacturers don’t always follow voluntary industry standards designed to prevent tip-overs that can injure and kill children. That was underscored by IKEA’s recent recall of 29 million chests and dressers after the company admitted that many of its products didn’t meet voluntary industry standards and that six children have been killed since 1989 in…

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Commentary

FairWarining Commentary

Miles to Go on Highway Safety

The 50th anniversary of federal auto safety regulation approaches, but there’s not much to celebrate. Signing the regulatory laws on Sept. 9, 1966, President Johnson predicted they would “cure the highway disease.”  They haven’t. The “disease” was a deadly pandemic, and still is. The year the laws were passed, some 50,000 people were killed in…

FairWarining Commentary

When a Workplace Tragedy is Also a Crime

When we hear about shootings, bank robberies, or home invasions, we expect the perpetrators to be arrested, tried, and punished appropriately if they are found guilty. When a drunk driver kills an innocent bystander, we treat that death as a criminal act punishable with fines and jail time. When an employer ignores workplace safety and…

FairWarining Commentary

How Secrecy Pacts Keep Regulators, Public in the Dark

For businesses that make and sell dangerous products, secrecy is a cherished ally. They work hard to prevent safety regulators and litigants from learning about their products’ hazards. One way they accomplish this is by concealing information revealed in lawsuits for those killed or injured by such products. Automobiles are often targeted in lawsuits, so…