Hagens Berman Blog

Auto News: Touch Screen Safety, Ford Lug Nuts

by Hagens Berman


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Touch-Screens in Cars Don’t Make Us Safer – Yet

As the Navy found out the hard way, safely taking the controls out of human hands has a long way to go.

Two years ago, 10 sailors died when the U.S. Navy’s guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with a chemical tanker off Singapore. An investigation has determined that insufficient training and inadequate operating procedures were to blame, and both factors were related to a new touch-screen-based helm control system. The Navy has decided to revert its destroyers back to entirely physical throttles and helm controls.

Large, interactive touch-screens are becoming increasingly prevalent in passenger cars; in the case of Tesla, they’re the only control interface. They’re lovely to look at, but as the Navy’s experience suggests, they might be more confusing than physical controls. That confusion isn’t academic, either: Distracted driving is an increasingly dangerous problem. read more »

Despite lawsuit dismissal, disputed Ford lug nuts continue to complicate dealership service

Lug nuts used by Ford Motor Co. remain a source of controversy — and concern for some Ford dealership service departments — even after a federal court this year dismissed a proposed class-action lawsuit alleging that the two-piece design was defective and dangerous.

Critics asserted that the caps of the lug nuts were prone to swell and change shape, making them hard to remove for regular maintenance or wheel and tire replacement. Plaintiffs in the suit against Ford, filed in 2017, alleged that vehicles with "swollen and delaminated" lug nuts "cannot be safely driven." read more »