Sarah Goodner was killed in Texas in 2007 when her 2005 Hyundai Tucson rolled over and she was thrown out the back window. The culprit for that odd circumstance – even though she had her seat belt fastened – was her seat, which was reclined so far back that she was able to slide out of it.
Stuart Goodner, Sarah's father, sued Hyundai claiming that the Tucson was unsafe because the seat could be reclined too much. A jury agreed, kind of, awarding Goodner a $1.8 million judgment against Hyundai, but also deciding that Hyundai was only 45% responsible for Sarah's death. Stuart said, "We want people to know how dangerous it is to drive with the seat reclined, [and] we're calling the auto industry out to correct this design defect so that no other family has to bury one of their children."
Forty-five degrees was determined to be the maximum amount of recline before driving became unsafe. And the issue isn't new: The NTSB and NHTSA debated the issue in 1988 and couldn't come to an agreement. Of course we can't make light of this – a young woman has died. But we do wonder why it's Hyundai's responsibility to make sure you don't drive your car in an unsafe manner. We suspect we haven't heard the last of this...
[Source: Go San Angelo]