Bush Administration issues rule pre-empting state seat belt claims.
According to Joan Claybrook of Public Citizen, on October 10 the Bush Administration issued a new rule governing seat belt safety that will preempt state-law products claims arising out of seat belt design. The rule, issued in October of 2008, re-defines "designated seating position" and gratuitously preempts safety lawsuits by injured consumers. Ms. Claybrook points out that the Bush Administration has inserted similar preemption language in National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration standards on no fewer than 20 occasions over the past three years. Granting blanket immunity to manufacturers is poor public policy, but as we know, that has never stopped the Bush Administration from acting on any issue where moneyed contributors have a stake.