Saturday, December 18, 2004

"Tort Reform" is Death

To hear President Dimbulb tell it, we need tort reform to prevent silly people from suing companies for slipping on floors and brewing hot coffee. In fact, tort reform means death, more and more death, and that is how we can best fight it.

Here's a fine example we should use as often and as loudly as possible. Several years ago GM pickup trucks with sidesaddle fuel tanks located on the outside of the frames began catching fire in accidents, and people were, no surprise, getting burned to death. GM engineers recommended fixing the problem. GM decided that it was cheaper to pay off the families of people who burned to death than it was to fix the damn problem. And it goes on:

Data updated through 1999 from NHTSA's Fatality Analysis Reporting System(FARS),show that over 1,800 people have been killed in fire crashes in the U.S. in 1973-87 GM C/K pickups and cab-chassis trucks with the defective outside-the-frame-rail sidesaddle fuel tank design. Just since DOT's deadly deal with GM to drop its recall efforts in December 1994, over 330 people have died in C/K pickup fire crashes. The side saddle pickup design continues to claim more lives in 2001 than any other single defect.

To describe one example, on May 21, 1997, in Carson City, NV, an elderly married couple in a 1978 C/K pickup were both instantaneously immolated when they ran a stop sign at a city intersection and were struck just behind the passenger door by a crossing pickup truck. The fireball resulting from the exploding fuel tank engulfed the other truck as well, and while the 18-year-old driver of the second truck was still conscious when pulled from the burning cab by a witness to the crash, he was burned so severely that his young life ended in a Las Vegas hospital burn unit within the week.

Witnesses at the scene recounted that he lay on the ground and was able to ask "Why?" three or four times. The answer to this question, of course, could be found not so much in a Nevada intersection as in Washington, DC and in GM's Michigan headquarters.

Why indeed? Why do we tolerate this? If our evil President and the evil bastards around him turn this into law, it will mean thousands - maybe tens of thousands - of Americans dying horrible, preventable deaths every year.

Maybe you will be one of them. Think about it.


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