We've been covering the oh-so-exciting topic of federal roof-strength regulation changes throughout the summer, but news that the feds have sneaked litigation protection into the legislation is an interesting twist. Basically, the new law would state that if an automaker's product meets the minimum federal standards, then the customer would have no legal standing on which to file a tort lawsuit. I believe that this would be much like the firearm liability protection act passed earlier this year. I've of mixed opinions on tort reform efforts. On one hand, I don't like highly technical lawsuits being settled by juries composed of people whom I wouldn't trust to change my oil. It also seems unfair to force a manufacturer to comply with a set of regulations, but give virtually no legal weight to this act of compliance later in court. On the other hand, federal regulations are weak in many areas, which has prompted automakers to develop their own internal standards that are far more stringent to avoid charges of gross negligence. That overhanging threat of litigation has led to safety improvements in virtually every car on the road. My libertarian side also doesn't like to see the government giving preference to one entity (business) over another (consumers). Everything considered, I don't think this is the right solution to the problem.
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