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Lobby OSHA Inform Public Hazard of Auto Wheels Falling Off

Organized by: Joseph Ante

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I wish to lobby OSHA and inform the general public with articles of the dangers of high impact hydraulic impact wrenches used to put on lug nuts at ALL auto repair shops. If these impact wrenches are set too high an individual can not change their tires with normal lug tire irons which is a big irritation. But further hundreds or perhaps thousand of auto tires simply fall of cars while driving down the interstate each year. The lug posts on the lug nuts are weakened or cracked by these high impact hydraulic wrenches set at higher settings. Then when you least expect it while driving your wheel can fall off and go flying through your fender and potentially cause a major accident involving others. This happened to me August 6th, 2016 a few weeks after getting a brake job at a local repair shop. While driving down I-69 from Fort Wayne my car develop a shimmy and vibration and I began pulling to the side of the road.  When I hit the grooves cut in the side of the pavement my wheel went through the fender and went flying off in the grass and over the fencing of the highway. After stopping and retrieving the wheel I noticed the lug nuts were still inside the wheel center and they were broken off with the posts. The wrecker driver/owner immediately said it was from over tightening the lug nuts at the shop. He employed five mechanics at his shop at one time and he said they fixed at least several of these same type of wheel accidents. He also stated that he had to pay out a settlement one time for one of his own mechanics error which caused the wheel to fall off a vehicle.   I have since collected other local stories of wheels falling off cars and I am researching the national statistics with little success so far.   A local drugstore manager stated to me that when he was a service manager for Walmart had several claims against their service department for this same type of accident while he worked there.  Multiply this by the thousands of Walmarts nationwide and you get a very disturbing picture of a nationwide problem.    I had no collision or comprehensive insurance coverage on my inexpensive car so I was not covered for this accident. After several weeks of wrangling with the liability insurance company of the repair shop they offered a maximum of $800 to settle which did not even cover the towing and $35 per day auto storage fees. So I signed over my car to the towing company to settle my bill with them.  And now I am without a car and forced to file a small claims court for $1850 of the actual damages.  I am a writer and I have collected photos of my accident and the broken lug nuts and posts for my small claims court case. But I also have learned in the process how to end these types of accidents nationwide and worldwide. I wish to lobby OHSA to require permanent signage in all auto shops informing new mechanics and their teenage helpers NOT to over tighten the lug nuts when placing them back on the car. Permanent signage should help educate the constant supply of new workers that come and go in all repair shops of this major hazard to avoid. The second solution is to lobby OSHA and/or the liability insurance companies to REQUIRE the purchase and use of an electric impact wrench to use in all auto shops for placing the lugs nuts back onto the cars. (Note: They can still use the higher impact wrenches to take them off.) The electric impact wrenches are only about one half as powerful as the hydraulic impact wrenches and so they should end the problem of overtightening and hundreds of wheels falling off while driving.  This serious accident problem may be much more prevalent in the USA and the world than anyone knows. When a major pileup occurs on the interstate highways it can be very difficult to learn what actually caused the accident.  I do not know the national numbers and I do not know if anyone is keeping track of wheels falling off cars in the USA.   But the fact that I have learned of about a dozen cases in three weeks time just by talking to a few local people in Indianapolis, Indiana leads me to believe this is a major national problem which is being overlooked.   Currently any time you take your car or your wife's, daughter's, or son,s car into the shop for repair work or for the tires to be rotated you might end up inadvertently causing their deaths in a pileup on the interstate.  From my own experience I can see that if I was in the fast passing lane when this accident occurred I most likely would have fishtailed into the next lane over when the wheel fell off and caused a major accident on the interstate. I decided to junk my car rather than fixing the damages because the other three wheels most likely had the very same problem of over tightening of the lug nuts. And I have an unofficial policy of not fixing any car that tries to kill me. Which is a policy I have violated only once with the repair of a 1972 VW Camper Van.    Read a short story I wrote many years ago see link below -- " How Surfing In Malibu And A Local Friend Saved My Life" by J.E. Ante   ( )    So everyone is at risk until permanent signage about this problem is required in all auto shops in the USA.   And all of us are at risk of dying ever time we take our cars in for repair work until a simple $100 electric impact wrench is required by OSHA and the liability insurance companies for policy coverage.   It seems like a very simple solution of $150 cost per auto repair shop to implement to insure the future safety of our loved ones. I am semi retired but still operate a home business for 24 hours per week.   I would like to mothball my business to devote my full time to solving this problem and informing public of this major auto hazard which can be easily solved in a short time. When you see permanent signage in all auto repair shops that warns of this hazard you will know this crowdfunding has saved some lives and you can sleep better knowing this likely will not happen to you or your loved one after your next car repair or maintence. -- Sincerely -- J.E. Ante


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Joseph Ante

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