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Lawyers: No kids in a Ferrari?

Discussion in '360/430' started by Brian C. Stradale, Apr 26, 2004.

  1. Brian C. Stradale

    Brian C. Stradale F1 Rookie
    Lifetime Rossa

    Mar 17, 2002
    3,603
    Dallas, TX, USA
    I don't remember this in my 360 manuals, but here it is in my Stradale Owners' Manual...

    Nobody under 79.4lb or under 4'11" should ride in it without being in a child safety seat... and nobody under 12 years old should be in it at all due to the airbags.

    For you lawyers out there... does this statement increase our liability if we take a kid shorter than 4'11" for a ride??
     
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  3. Z0RR0

    Z0RR0 F1 Rookie

    Apr 11, 2004
    3,445
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    Julien
    I'm not a lawyer, but I would say it would ... especially if you try being a b!tch if something happened ...
     
  4. dan360

    dan360 F1 Rookie

    Feb 18, 2003
    2,669
    Boston
    #3 dan360, Apr 26, 2004
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    I find this especially amusing since there is a hole through the passenger sports seat and an anchoring point behind the seat to attach the child seat to.

    How many 12/13 year olds ride in a car seat?

    Same as the ludicrous sticker for the LC...
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  5. Merdav

    Merdav Formula Junior

    Apr 11, 2004
    971
    I was asking around if there is a way to install a disable switch for the airbages for this exact reason. Maybe some time of toggle switch for off and on like Porsche and Corvette have. Never got a straight anwser from anyone yet...still waiting to hear if it's been sucessfully done.
     
  6. Tony Fuisz

    Tony Fuisz Karting

    Nov 5, 2003
    162
    Bethesda, MD
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    Tony Fuisz
    Maybe John Houghtaling can comment-he's involved in that sort of law and managed to buy the ex-shah Muira from the proceeds.
    Hopefully you aren't driving the car at 11/10th with a kid in the front seat...
     
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  8. BigTex

    BigTex Seven Time F1 World Champ
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    Dec 6, 2002
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    Bubba
    Darn, no height challenged girl friends, either!!
     
  9. 4RE Bob

    4RE Bob Formula Junior

    Feb 7, 2004
    567
    Muskoka, Ontario
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    Bob
    If they are out of the line of fire of the air bag, they should be fine. Let's see....
     
  10. TimF40

    TimF40 Formula 3

    Nov 3, 2003
    1,031
    Seattle/Bay Area/NYC
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    Tim
    Argh. This sure is a timely post. The NW folks are doing a charity ride event on Sunday. This certainly plays into that. Even if a parent signs a waiver for a small kid, I imagine we'd still be responsible should something happen. i.e., We can't knowingly violate car manual warnings when it comes to personal safety. :-|
     
  11. UroTrash

    UroTrash Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Jan 20, 2004
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    The fact is regular airbags have, by far, saved more kids lives than they have taken.

    The problem is that is one child dies, that's the one that the company will lose millions on even if 500 were saved! The 500 that were saved? The company just feels lucky if they are not sued for minor abrasions or broken pinkies.

    So what does the company lawyer say? Warn against all kid's use, thats what. Forget the 500 that would be saved, just avoid the one that would be killed.

    It's a real shame because the relative risk-benefit ratio is completely lost on the average consumer. They all assume that airbags are deadly for kids because the makers post those warning labels.

    I believe a child, on average, is safer with any airbag than with no airbag at all. Yeah, I know smart airbags are best but thats not my point.
     
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  13. Doody

    Doody F1 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2001
    6,099
    MA USA
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    Mr. Doody
    in general, i'm sure the stradale manual text is just FNA's lawyers being excessive. very sad. i agree with you tim360 - no way you should put a child of any sort under 12 in your passenger seat - you'll get sued into next year if the kid gets so much as a scratch. very unfortunate situation - dumb dumb dumb.

    here are some statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety http://www.hwysafety.org/ - i don't claim to know who they are. they seem to be a safety research consortium funded by auto insurers.

    • Since 1990, 238 deaths reportedly have been caused by airbags inflating in low severity crashes. These deaths include 80 drivers, 11 adult passengers, 120 children, and 23 infants. note that they do not specifically define "child" and "infant" by age, height, or weight - unfortunate.

    • Of the 121 children killed by passenger airbags, 91 are believed to have been unrestrained moron parents. fyi - that's 75% of the child deaths :(; 25 children were improperly restrained cf. the comment about unfit parents and 5 were restrained so 5 of 121 - that's 4%. Twenty of the unrestrained children were seated in the lap of a front passenger and two were unrestrained and on the lap of the driver. Improper restraint use includes 13 cases where the child was using a lap belt only; and 2 children had the shoulder belt positioned under their arm. In one case the child shared the lap belt with another passenger. The remaining cases involving restraint misuse are those where the belt and/or the forward facing child safety seats were misused. Most of these crashes involved pre-impact braking.

    • Of the 23 infants killed by airbags, 12 are believed to be restrained in rear-facing infant seats DOH! cf. comment re: stupid parents; 4 in rear-facing restraints on laps sigh. if this crap isn't enough data to suggest that "breeding permits" should be mandatory i don't know what is; 5 were not properly secured in rear-facing restraints and 2 unknown if properly restrained. Fifteen cases involved pre-impact braking and in 2 cases pre-impact braking is unknown.

    note that the NHTSA apparently stopped investigating all airbag-related accidents in the late 90s - there were just too many. so these statistics are apparently dumbed down to only "weird" accidents - as they say "pre-impact braking" issues and low-speed deployments. so the stats are probably not quite accurate (the other side argues they're WAY off base).

    of course, even if the odds are only a fraction of 1%, i have to admit that i'm not eager to have my kids be the anomalous number :(.

    doody.
     
  14. dan360

    dan360 F1 Rookie

    Feb 18, 2003
    2,669
    Boston
    #11 dan360, Apr 26, 2004
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Interesting stats Doody - I know that I've got one 3 year old who's very dissappointed that he can't ride in Daddy's new "Racing Car". He has been placated somewhat by standing in it pressing buttons etc. See the attached "manic grin" photo.

    I'm thinking that a sneaky 456 + child seats might be quite a nice option :)
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  15. UroTrash

    UroTrash Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Wow! Great numbers. They are impressive, but they are only one side of the equation.

    What is harder to find is how many kids were SAVED in the same time period. that stat probably does not exist. (Kind of like its easy to find how many deaths handguns cause but hard to say how many are saved by them).

    Logically, if the bags saved one child for each that died BECAUSE of them, it would be a wash, and if they saved 2 kids for each that died BECAUSE of them they would be good from a survival standpoint but a disaster from a legal point.

    My point is that the manufacturers will warn against them even if they are likely to save overwhelmed many more kids than they kill.
     
  16. Merdav

    Merdav Formula Junior

    Apr 11, 2004
    971
    The facts of safety, be as they may,but the LAW in here in New York, states no kids under 12 years old or under 80LBS may be in an airbag equipted seat....so. Some type of toggle switch set up to disingage the ECU sensor for the SRS? It would light the dash warning light, but that would make a good reminder to turn back on when the kids weren't in the car. Anyone know the wiring diagram layout? Anyone ever heard of this being done? My dealer "can't" even attempt it for obvious reasons. They suggested a local alarm shop, but with a little guidence I don't think it impossible.-MICHAEL
     
  17. donv

    donv F1 World Champ
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    I thought there was an exception to the law which allowed an on/off switch to be installed if the car had no back seat?
     
  18. PSk

    PSk F1 World Champ

    Nov 20, 2002
    17,673
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    Pete
    I'm confused here. All small infant seats are designed to have the child facing the rear of the car. It is safer this way because their necks have not developed the required strength yet.

    So what are you saying here, that 12 were killed because they were in the front of the car and the airbag went off ... and somehow flipped the child out or seat back or something.

    In Australia it is 100% illegal to carry a child in a child seat in the front of a car! ... thus are we talking about side impact airbags?


    Are we talking here about a child sitting in a safety seat on somebodies lap, OR the safety seat attached to the cars seat via a lap belt. Just about all child safety seats (the 3 we have used definitely) attach perfectly via lap belts.

    Please explain ... because I am a little confused in how an airbag and a child correctly restrained in the BACK of a car can come in contact.

    IMO a BABY should never be carried in the front of a car and this includes FERRARIs ... just wait until they are old enough, like you would if you owned a motorcycle (er, actually anybody that carries a child on the back of a bike should be killed at site to eliminate that child having a d!ckhead parent ... and thus saving that childs future).

    Pete
     
  19. SkizoACE

    SkizoACE Formula Junior

    Mar 24, 2004
    884
    Houston
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    Thomas
    Did you get your car in Houston?
     
  20. Merdav

    Merdav Formula Junior

    Apr 11, 2004
    971
    I think you asking me about my car. Yes I got it last week from Expo motor cars in houston.
     
  21. dmcgill

    dmcgill Formula 3

    Apr 16, 2004
    1,640
    Las Vegas, NV
    I am SO jealous of your 3 year old......Is the CS gonna be his car when he turns 16?
     
  22. johnhoughtaling

    johnhoughtaling Formula 3
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    Nov 6, 2002
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    New Orleans
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    John William H.
    As a products liability lawyer (including having had cases on defective design of safety restraints), I can tell you that the liability is pretty logical:

    If you carry a child in the front seat of the car, against the warnings of the manufacter you (or rather your insurer) will likely be held 100% liabile if the airbag causes or aggravates an injury to a child wich would not have occured if there was no airbag. Being 100% liable you will pay 100% of the damages you caused. This does NOT mean that if you disregard the warnings you will be "sued into next year" for a scratch. If you scratch someone, you pay for a scratch. (maybe this is worth about $100 in any state anywhere) A suggestion otherwise is insurance company propoganda, and not based on reality. It costs a plaintiff about $200,000.00 (minimuim) to bring an airbag case. I'm not going to risk 200 grand of my money on the bet I'd win 100 bucks. So dont worry about frivolous claims or suits involving airbags.

    If as "mdstrib" suggests, the warnings are exaggerated and misleading then there is nothing to worry about. If the child's life is saved in the crash because of an airbag, then there are no damages. You are liable for nothing. If the child comes out with scratches instead of being dead, then you saved the child, you did not aggravate the child's injuries. Thus you would not be liable. Period. End of story.

    Now, if you kill or paralize a child because you consciously disregarded the warnings of a manufacterer, then your insurer will be getting a knock on the door from a process server.

    The only question you need to ask yourself is whether you want to disreagrd what the maker is telling you, and bet the life of a young child on "mdsrtib"'s theory.

    From my experience, I'm not convinced that putting a young child in a seat with an airbag is safer than putting a child in a seat without one. Airbags can deploy violently at realtively low impact. They explode with enouph force to restist the weight of several times the weight of an adult. If an airbag explodes near a young child it can brake the child's neck and kill that child. You dont need to be a biomechanical expert to understand how this can happen.

    Hence, the manufacterers warn against this danger. (BTW they did not warn against this danger, even when they knew it was dangerous, until civil lawyers made it unprofitable to keep this danger secret. I can tell you from experience that manufacterers are very hesitant to reveal the dangers of their products. They warn when only when there is something very serious to warn about. Many times they dont warn until they are forced to.) So, if they warn, you may want to listen. You disregard these warnings at the risk of your passangers.

    Airbags can very beneficial is some circumstances, and thier utility outwieghs thier danger when designed and working properly. But by their very nature they can aggravate a persons injuries in some instances . To understand the benifits and vices of airbags, you need to understand what they are specifically designed for:

    Airbags are designed for sreet cars with street car seat belts. Manufacturers design street belts to be easy to use and comfortable. (to promote use) They have natural "give" in the belts, to allow the passanger to move about the interior compartment with comfort and ease. Well, this "comfort" comes at a price, because if you are in an accident, and you are leaning over, or not against your seat, or dont have you belt on properly, or at all, then your body moves foward and is "jerked" when the belt catches. (the old "window shade" belts, which allow you to "set slack," are extremely dangerous. ) Airbags were desgined for three purposes 1) in case someone doesnt have a belt on at all (man. will deny this), and 2) for use in conjuntion with street belts which many not be tight on the body at impact, 3) to push more of your body back into the seat. In some ways, Airbags are an attempt to fix non-perfect seatbelts.

    Airbags are not beneficial in all circumstances. Racecars do not have airbags. Why? Well it is not because the airbag safer in this context. In a racecar, to forceably push a driver in a direction, do not exist. The driver is secured very tight by multiple belts in the seat and does not move upon impact.

    If you disregard airbag warnings, and an injury to a child is aggravated due to the presence of an airbag, you will be sued. Your insurance company will likely fight it, but will ultimately pay the claim.

    The bigger concern should not be for one's liability, but for the danger you can cause someone else. If you are aware of the risk, be careful, and dont take it.
     
  23. Merdav

    Merdav Formula Junior

    Apr 11, 2004
    971
    This thread seems to have run a muck. We all seem to know it's a bad idea AND illegal to have a child in a seat with an airbag. I doubt anyone is doing this, BUT the whole question was "is there a way to install a switch to temporarily disable the airbag?". Which would make having a child in the front seat "when the car does not have a rear seat", than it would legal AND safer for them.
    Any techs out there know how this can be done?
     
  24. Brian C. Stradale

    Brian C. Stradale F1 Rookie
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    Mar 17, 2002
    3,603
    Dallas, TX, USA
    Not true! First, it was argued that its not such a bad idea; second, I don't believe its illegal everywhere, just some places. The one thing that has been uniformly confirmed is that: 1) it is warned against by the car manufacturer; 2) given that, you take on clear legal liability by ignoring that.

    And I'm sure plenty of people do it! In fact, there are numerous threads where people treat kids with rides in their air-bag-equipped Ferraris. And I have taken my own kids for rides. (I just scoot the seat all the way back and insist they sit in their seat belt properly... back against the seat... in that position, they are in no danger from the airbag.) I have never and will never put a rear-facing car seat in my Ferrari... that is definitely a bad idea!

    And getting back to the specific instructions in the Challenge Stradale, note that even some adults aren't allowed to ride in it! Nobody under 4'11" is supposed to be in the seats!!

    So, will any of you refuse rides to your short adult friends due to the legal liability created by the fact that Ferrari has declared them too short for the car??
     
  25. donv

    donv F1 World Champ
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    FYI, I was chatting with the service manager at my local Ferrari dealership, and he said they are required by law to be able to install an airbag on/off switch in two seat cars.

    He said that he had never seen it done personally, but he had driven a 550 with an on/off switch installed by someone else.
     
  26. fvellani

    fvellani Formula Junior

    Aug 28, 2002
    265
    I know that here in British Columbia, the law is that anyone can apply to have their airbags disabled, or have a switch installed so that you can deactivate the airbag when necessary. However, you must recieve governmental approval to have this done, and not a single shop will even touch the car without approval from the govt. Also, approval hinges upon whether the vehicle is used frequently by people who are too short, or children need to be carried in the front, etc., so that people who dont need to have their airbags disabled wont do it.
     
  27. ntingle

    ntingle Karting

    Nov 1, 2003
    52
    Los Gatos, CA
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    Nick Tingle
    NHSTA site for finding an airbag switch installer (they are hard to find, apparently):

    http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/airbags/switch_install/index.cfm

    and http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/airbags/

    Also see this page on 'advanced airbags' which should deactivate if a child is in the passenger seat:

    http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/airbags/advancedairbag/AdvancedairbagQ-n-A.htm#questions

    Supposedly these should be installed on 20% of a manufacturer's vehicles in 2004, but I checked a local 2004 360 and there were no signs of advanced airbags (you can tell from the sticker).
     
  28. ciao baby

    ciao baby Formula Junior

    Feb 15, 2004
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    Michael Karagiannis
    For what it is worth dodge puts a switch right on the dash to disable the Airbags. My 3 year old loves it.
    MK
     

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