In Focus

The GM Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan. Photo courtesy Carlos Osorio, AP Photo.

GM Ignition Switch Scandal Echoes Infamous Fire-Prone Pickups Case

The recent disclosures about the ignition switch defect in millions of General Motors cars–and the company’s early and secret knowledge of the hazard–are disturbing by themselves. But they are also an eerie echo of the terrible carnage from an even bigger scandal involving millions of fire-prone GM pickup trucks, writes Joe McCray. Thanks to a bailout from American taxpayers, GM emerged from bankruptcy and has rebounded from financial failure while boasting of its new leadership and culture. But taken together, McCray says, the ignition switch and pickup scandals suggest a company that is rotten somewhere near its core.

GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra testifies during a House Energy and Commerce hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington April 1, 2014. Congress is trying to establish who is to blame for at least 13 auto-related deaths over the past decade, as public hearings are held over two days on General Motors Co's slow response to defective ignition switches in cars.

Like Them or Hate Them, Injury Lawsuits Sometimes Expose Health and Safety Hazards

The scandal over General Motors’ concealment for more than a decade of dangerously defective ignition switches in some of its cars highlights an often-overlooked fact: Injury lawsuits sometimes reveal health and safety hazards that would otherwise remain secret. As Ben Kelley notes, the deadly ignition defects were not exposed by engineers for GM or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but by an engineer for plaintiffs in a wrongful-death suit.

Consumer Advocates Urge Banning ATVs From Roadways, Citing Crash Hazards FairWarining Reports

Consumer Advocates Urge Banning ATVs From Roadways, Citing Crash Hazards

A leading consumer group is warning that the increasing use of all-terrain vehicles on the nation’s roads poses a “growing public health crisis” and is calling for immediate action by U.S., state and local officials. “ATVs are not designed to be on roads,” said Rachel Weintraub, the Consumer Federation of America’s legislative director and the co-author […]

Despite High Death Toll, Push Is On To Open More Public Roads to ATVs

Despite High Death Toll, Push Is On To Open More Public Roads to ATVs

Last Mother’s Day, Jaret Graham, 14, climbed on the back of an all-terrain vehicle driven by his 12-year-old cousin. As they sped down a paved stretch of country road in west Texas, the 12-year-old lost control, went into a ditch and fell off the vehicle, injuring his leg. Jaret was thrown off and hit his […]

A man operating a table saw in a woodworking shop. (iStockphoto) FairWarining Reports

Power Tool Makers Accused in Lawsuit of Thwarting Adoption of Finger-Saving Device

Leading power tool manufacturers have conspired for years to thwart adoption of a safety device that could prevent thousands of finger amputations and other disfiguring injuries in table saw accidents, according to a federal antitrust lawsuit filed by the developer of the safety technology. Using a hot dog as a proxy for a finger, SawStop […]

Jacob Helvey. (The Helvey family.)

Elevator Safety Flaws Persist Despite History of Tragic Accidents

A type of elevator increasingly found in townhouses and single-family homes has been involved in rare but horrific injuries to small children, and the manufacturers have long been aware of the problem. But the companies, which set their own voluntary standards through an industry-dominated committee, have yet to address the hazard.

(iStockphoto) FairWarining Reports

Stunning Loss for Lead Paint Makers in Lawsuit by California Cities and Counties

Lead paint makers suffered a landmark defeat Monday when a state court judge in San Jose ordered the industry to create a $1.1 billion fund to eliminate lead hazards to children in hundreds of thousands of California homes.

(iStockphoto) FairWarining Reports

Court Asked to Decide if Transparency Trumps Corporate Reputation in ‘Company Doe’ Case

Consumer and media groups asked a federal appeals court to unseal documents in a closely watched product safety and business confidentiality case cloaked in extraordinary secrecy.

Legal Battles Smolder Six Decades After 'the Greatest Health Protection in Cigarette History'

Legal Battles Smolder Six Decades After ‘the Greatest Health Protection in Cigarette History’

It’s hard to think of anything more reckless than adding a deadly carcinogen to a product that already causes cancer — and then bragging about the health benefits. That’s what Lorillard Tobacco did 60 years ago when it introduced Kent cigarettes, whose patented “Micronite” filter contained a particularly virulent form of asbestos.

American gun use is out of control. Shouldn’t the world intervene?

Last week, Starbucks asked its American customers to please not bring their guns into the coffee shop. This is part of the company’s concern about customer safety and follows a ban in the summer on smoking within 25 feet of a coffee shop entrance and an earlier ruling about scalding hot coffee. After the celebrated […]