Rick Schmitt

Congress Moves to Reduce Risk of Midair Collisions Posed by Drones FairWarining Reports

Congress Moves to Reduce Risk of Midair Collisions Posed by Drones

Congress today sent to President Obama legislation to address the growing safety threat posed by thousands of drones entering the nation’s airspace. The safety measures are contained in a bill to continue the funding of the Federal Aviation Administration, whose legal authority is due to expire on Friday. The Senate today approved the legislation following…

Federal Regulators Open Investigation Amid Reports of Exhaust Fumes Wafting into Ford Explorers

Federal Regulators Open Investigation Amid Reports of Exhaust Fumes Wafting into Ford Explorers

Federal regulators are investigating a possible defect in Ford Explorers following scores of complaints about exhaust and carbon monoxide pouring into the passenger compartments of the popular SUVs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it had received 154 complaints from owners of 2011 to 2015 Explorers, who reported exhaust leaks into their vehicles. According…

Railroad Vindicated as Judge Rejects Claim of Legal Corruption in Arbitration Case FairWarining Reports

Railroad Vindicated as Judge Rejects Claim of Legal Corruption in Arbitration Case

A federal judge today rejected an allegation of legal corruption against BNSF Railway Co., ruling that a former company executive didn’t threaten to blackball an arbitrator to win a favorable ruling in a dispute with a fired worker. Judge Ronald Leighton in Tacoma, Wash., said comments made to the arbitrator by the retired BNSF executive,…

Rail Giant BNSF Accused of Telling Arbitrator: 'Our Way or The Highway' FairWarining Reports

Rail Giant BNSF Accused of Telling Arbitrator: ‘Our Way or The Highway’

A run-of-the-mill employment dispute could become a major embarrassment for railroad giant BNSF over an allegation that a senior executive threatened to blackball an arbitrator from the industry if she ruled against the company. In a federal court case set to go to trial next week in Tacoma, Wash., a fired BNSF Railway Co. employee…

Feds Want to Run Flimsy Motorcycle Helmets Off the Road FairWarining Reports

Feds Want to Run Flimsy Motorcycle Helmets Off the Road

After years of inaction, federal regulators are trying to crack down on the use of cheap novelty helmets linked to thousands of motorcycle crash deaths and injuries in recent years. The novelty helmets do not comply with federal safety standards, and provide little or no protection against head injuries in a crash. Still, as FairWarning…

Photo of Erin Shero and son Colton Shero FairWarining Investigates

Years of Talking, Kids Still Dying

Strangulation Hazard From Window Blind Cords

After fixing a quick snack for her children one day in October 2013, Erin Shero returned to the downstairs playroom of her suburban Chattanooga, Tenn., home. She wanted to check on the youngest of her five kids, Colton, who was two days away from his second birthday. Thinking he was asleep, Shero reached down to…

Booming Sales of Novelty Helmets Boost Toll of Motorcycle Deaths FairWarining Investigates

Booming Sales of Novelty Helmets Boost Toll of Motorcycle Deaths

Every year, hundreds of motorcycle riders die in crashes they would have survived had they been wearing helmets that meet a government safety standard instead of so-called novelty helmets. Yet sales of the substandard helmets are booming, and federal authorities have failed to crack down.

Despite Death Toll, Motorcycle Groups Strive to Muzzle U.S. Regulators FairWarining Investigates

Despite Death Toll, Motorcycle Groups Strive to Muzzle U.S. Regulators

While the highway death toll is going down, motorcycle fatalities have increased to 4,500 per year, or about one in seven traffic deaths. Yet motorcycle groups continue fighting to preserve what is essentially a gag order on regulators to keep them from promoting or enforcing safety requirements. “This is… an interesting and dangerous road they are going down,” as one safety advocate put it.