According to the American Association for Justice, in his last few weeks as President, former President Bush began passing regulations in the Federal Register that provided corporates immunity for negligence. These regulations could "weaken consumer safety protections and limit the ability to hold manufacturers repsonsible for defective and harmful products."
"The Bush administration has weakened consumer safety protections and put corporate profits ahead of consumer safety. We have seen it in everything from medical device rules, seatbelt and school bus safety requirements, railroad security, and prescription drug labels," said AAJ President Les Weisbrod.
Throughout all of its regulating, the Bush administration failed to protect consumers with regard to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) standard regarding roof crush resistance. The current standard was established in 1973 and was developed many years before the widespread popularity of SUV's. The NHTSA has delayed its final publication deadline for the newly finalized standard to April 30, 2009.
"This is a golden opportunity for the Obama Administration to show that they intend make consumer safety a priority," added Weisbrod. NHTSA's pending proposal of the roof crush standard only increased the ability of a roof to withstand a force equal to 2.5 times the unloaded vehicle's weight, a standard that would still result in killing or paralyzing most passengers involved in rollover accidents.
"We hope the next administration takes the time to make a strong roof crush standard that would adequately protect consumers and ensure the right to civil justice is protected," added Weisbrod. The pending rule also included preemption language which could have prevented consumers from seeking justice through the state tort system," added Weisbrod.
For more on this story and a comprehensive list of finalized regulations, please click here.