DALLAS, March 6, 2018 — Vehicle Safety Lawyer Todd Tracy says a “Good” crash rating by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) may be the epitaph on the tombstones of auto accident victims in his crashworthiness law practice.
Tracy countered an Industry Advisory issued by the IIHS that tried to spin the shocking injury findings of his firm’s own crash testing of aftermarket imitation vehicle parts into a “Good” safety rating. “Data recorded by state of the art crash test dummies indicated that the driver and passenger in an actual wreck might have been decapitated and suffered broken limbs like they were china dolls. The IIHS thought police borrowed a chapter from George Orwell’s 1984 when they spun this tale,” said Tracy.
In December of 2017, Tracy and the Auto Body Association of Texas (ABAT) crash tested three similar model Honda Fits in the wake of a Dallas County Jury’s $42 million damages verdict in a landmark case over collision repair standards. 33-year old Matthew Seebachan and his 29-year old wife Marcia were both crushed and Matthew was severely burned because the glued roof panel on their 2010 Honda Fit caused the safety cage to fail in a wreck.
The collision repair facility did not fix the vehicle’s hail damaged roof according to the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) standards which called for replacing the metal roof with 108 welds.
42-Million Reasons The Collision Repair Industry Should Follow OEM
The verdict set off a nationwide debate inside the collision repair industry about how the auto insurance giants bully and threaten not to pay for OEM repairs and pressure the use of non-OEM aftermarket parts that are cheap imitations.
Karco Engineering conducted three crash tests of similar model Honda Fits: an OEM Honda Fit control test vehicle; a non-OEM roof repair Honda Fit replicating the Seebachan accident vehicle; and a 2013 Honda Fit equipped with non-OEM aftermarket parts that are key to crashworthiness.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Puts Orwellian Spin On What Constitutes “Good” Safety Rating
According to IIHS, its engineers concluded after reviewing Tracy’s published crash test data that the 2013 Honda Fit equipped with non-OEM aftermarket parts, “performed on par with our evaluation of the good-rated 2009 Fit, with across-the-board good scores for structure, injury measures, and restraints and kinematics.”
Tracy questioned the validity an IIHS “Good” rating when it comes to protecting people in vehicles equipped with non-OEM aftermarket parts. The Tracy Law Firm’s crash tests found catastrophic differences in injury protection provided by the vehicle equipped with aftermarket parts (2013 Honda Fit) when compared to the original equipment manufacturer vehicle (2010 Honda Fit) used as the control test vehicle as follows:
- 844% difference in thigh bone injury protection
- 176% difference in ankle injury protection
- 100% difference in neck injury protection
IIHS Can’t Bite The Hand That Feeds It — Big Auto Insurance Carriers
“IIHS jumped to this ridiculous conclusion without inspecting the test vehicles in our crash lab or discussing the scientific findings with our team of automotive engineers,” said Tracy. “They have confirmed the opinion of vehicle safety lawyers that the IIHS is the lapdog of the auto insurance industry that pressures the use of aftermarket imitation parts to reduce the cost of accident claims. They are wholly supported according to their website by auto insurers. A lapdog can’t bite the hand that feeds them,” said Tracy.
The IIHS in a moment of candor admitted that aftermarket parts must be identical to OEM parts. In the collision repair industry that means LKQ — Like, Kind and Quality. “When our crash tests reveal catastrophic differences, the these aftermarket parts deemed “Good” by IIHS certainly are not LKQ and it’s not good for the safety of drivers and passengers. Unfortunately, IIHS apparently does not care about the person in the passenger seat. Unlike our tests, IIHS did not test the impact on a crash dummy seated in the passenger seat.” said Tracy.
Standup To The Auto Insurance Bullies — Customer’s Lives & Collision Repair Businesses Are At Risk
So what’s a consumer and collision repair business to do? “IIHS would have you believe everything is good in their Orwellian paradise. But after delivering their $42 million dollar verdict in the Seebachan case, members of the jury told a reporter that the collision center had argued in court that it made a ‘business decision’ to make a non-OEM repair. And that it was the ‘wrong business decision and that the collision center had to pay for it.’ In my presentations to collision industry trade associations across the country I am sounding the alarm that the jury sent a message that the collision industry is on the hook for damages when it gets bullied by auto insurance companies into not fixing vehicles according to OEM standards, said Tracy.”
In response to the IIHS advisory, Tracy now urges his clients as well as consumers to take the IIHS crash test ratings with a grain of salt. “The IIHS has become a media darling. Now that we know its definition of “Good” we must ask if the IIHS crash test ratings are just fake news propaganda by auto insurance companies,” said Tracy.
Motorists concerned about getting crashworthy collision repairs have a right to demand that their insurance carriers and collision repair businesses only use OEM parts that are critical to the safe integrity of their vehicles.