The number of people who have suffered serious injuries and even lost their lives from malfunctioning or faulty automated gates is simply too high to have no changes implemented.
An automatic gate or automatic gate system is a mechanical device that opens or closes a gate, such as the one at the end of a driveway or entrance-way to a large building. It is also sometimes referred to as a gate operator, and there are both electromechanical and hydraulic versions.
The problem with automated gates is four-fold: there isn’t an incredible amount of data when it comes to statistics, manufacturers are aware of the dangers that their products present to consumers, automated gates have multiple product and design flaws and, lastly, there are no federal standards in place to regulate the product.
While there may not be an influx of data, there certainly are many horror stories when it comes to automatic gates. Children appear to be especially at risk, and many have died because of a product malfunction. But, it is not just children who are at risk. Adults, too, have fallen prey to this product, as well as the elderly.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has acknowledged 32 deaths in total since 1985, but also says that roughly 25,000 people have been injured due to automatic gates. These numbers have affected children the most, with 20 children’s lives lost and over 9,000 who have suffered severe injuries. While the data is limited, there is still information when it comes to accidents and injuries that have been the results of negligent, automatic gates that malfunction and seriously injure or even kill people all across the country.
As for the manufacturers, they are plenty aware of the problems and dangers that their gates pose to their very own consumers. The Door & Access Systems Manufacturers Association, or DASMA, through its magazine is the “face” of the gate industry. Their magazine even tells manufacturers to never admit to any kind of liability, because that is the job of others to “prove”. The implicit acknowledgment of automatic gates posing serious risk to consumers is throughout their literature.
Even worse is that different types of safety technologies are very available, but simply are not being used by the manufacturers, most likely because it is simply more cost-effective not to. What that points to is that the manufacturers of these products appear to be much more concerned with finances than the lives and well-being of their consumers.
As stated previously, there are absolutely no federal regulations whatsoever when it comes to automatic gates. Although some provisions have been made to endorse the idea of implementing safety equipment, the truth is that without regulations it is truly impossible to enforce until after something terrible and damaging has occurred. Because all of the safety standards that are available for automatic gates are simply recommendations and not legally-mandated, it appears that most companies will opt to not fully protect the very consumers that purchase their products and keep their companies alive.
Automatic gate systems have various and quite severe design flaws. The design flaws that plague automatic gates are varied, and range from the lack of entrapment sensors to completely useless emergency release levers that are ineffective in the event of an actual medical emergency. These are not minor, product issues, these are examples of dangerous, product liabilities.
Automatic gates need to be made safer, regulated, investigated and changed in order to become safe products for American consumers. Automatic gate manufacturers are aware of the problems that they face and should begin to make changes right away so that no one else is injured or loses their life due to a faulty, unsafe product.
Philadelphia products liability lawyers at Galfand Berger have successfully represented clients who have been injured by faulty or malfunctioning products. If you or any of your loved ones have experienced such a situation, an attorney at Galfand Berger, LLP can help. With offices located in Philadelphia, Reading and Bethlehem, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.