Our firm has successfully handled two wrongful death cases recently against U-Haul. In each case, the U-Haul trailer was being pulled by a Ford Explorer. Also in each of the cases, the trailer began to sway and ultimately caused the vehicles to roll over, leading to the death of the drivers of the Ford Explorers. Soon after we resolved the first wrongful death case against U-Haul, the company issued a new policy preventing any rental of its trailers when the customer was driving…..
a Ford Explorer. The policy announcement was an attempt by U-Haul to blame the incidents on the instability of the Ford Explorer. While the Ford Explorer’s propensity to roll over is well documented, U-Haul must shoulder the bulk of the responsibility.
Soon after U-Haul’s announcement, I wrote in a previous issue of this Report that U-Haul’s policy change was nothing more than a publicity stunt. That statement was recently confirmed when the firm received yet another case to investigate involving a U-Haul trailer. Similar to the prior two cases we successfully resolved for our clients, the driver of this vehicle lost control when the trailer began to sway, ultimately causing the vehicle to roll over resulting in the death of the driver. The only difference between this most recent occurrence and the prior cases is the latest victim was not driving a Ford Explorer. He was driving a Nissan Pathfinder.
If U-Haul is to remain consistent the company will soon announce a new policy of not renting its trailers to anyone driving a Ford Explorer or a Nissan Pathfinder. The first announcement won’t prevent any deaths on the nation’s highways, and a revised exclusion list won’t either. The type of SUV pulling the trailer is irrelevant. U-Haul trailers have caused many different types of SUV’s, trucks and other passenger vehicles to roll over in the past and they will continue to do so in the future. Rollovers while pulling U-Haul trailers are caused by the propensity of the trailer to sway in transit. Swaying is caused by the condition of the trailer and hitch, the existence and condition of the braking system, and the weight distribution between the towing vehicle and the trailer with its contents.
As noted in an earlier article, other major renters of trailers require the customer to pull the trailers only with larger six-wheeled vehicles. These vehicles are larger and heavier so they can withstand the swaying of the trailer. If U-Haul was truly serious about safety, it would follow the industry. This is not a likely move considering U-Haul has a monopoly on this market and would be forced to forfeit high profits. U-Haul could prevent these incidents by maintaining its fleet of trailers, including making sure their respective braking systems are in good working condition.
In one of the prior cases we handled, the trailer’s brakes were in need of maintenance. Additionally, the trailer had not been inspected and repaired on U-Haul’s own schedule. Instead of making policy changes that do not affect safety, U-Haul should focus on making changes that actually limit swaying. Until U-Haul takes steps to upgrade its fleet of trailers with better braking systems and devices designed to limit or eliminate swaying, drivers of vehicles towing U-Haul trailers and those vehicles on the interstate in close proximity to them are in extreme danger. I will keep you updated on the progress of the latest case against U-Haul. If you want more information now on U-Haul litigation contact Kendall Dunson or Cole Portis in our firm at 800-898-2034.
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