As will be shown, Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals was a Supreme Court of the United States ruling that has been wrongly applied to engineering in many cases. This ruling allows manufacturers to continue selling dangerous products because judges do not allow plaintiff experts to testify based on Daubert. The trial judge tosses out the expert’s testimony when he or she thinks the expert did not use testing, peer review, error rate, standard procedures, and acceptance by the scientific community. It all sounds good, but some of it is pure unadulterated B.S.
If there were a question in a survey that asked, “Are you for a safer world?” The answers would be 90% in favor and 10% against safety. The 10% represents the terrible ten that causes so much trouble in our world. If the question were asked, “Who is at fault in the ATV accident with Mr. Egg in Figure 1?” The response might be 75% blaming Mr. Egg, 15% blaming the ATV manufacture, and the terrible ten blaming God who obviously punished Mr. Egg for hidden sins.
The problem is cultural as far as our attitude about safety. We all know and believe that stupid people do stupid things. This includes trial judges, lawyers, and experts. Blaming the injured and the dead in accidents is easy. Stupid people do stupid things. Therefore, there is a strong suspicion that the person involved in the accident did something dumb. The problem is we need to accept the fact that we all do stupid things on occasion. Some of the things we do are foreseeable. This human trait will never change. Let us accept that fact and hire engineers manufacturing machines and products that follow the engineering code of ethics that states, “Protect the health, welfare, and safety of the public.”
If safety works there should be evidence proving this point. The National Safety Council Injury Facts proves the point that we can live in a safer world. The death rate per 10,000 motor vehicles ranges from 33.38 in 1913 to 1.92 in 2004 .
Safety works. Some people believe there is someone keeping track of our number and when our number is up it is up. Either the person keeping track of our number changes his or her mind with vehicle accidents, or safety works and we can keep people alive and well with good solid engineering.
The Courts are the last bastion to protect consumers from unreasonably dangerous and defectively design products, machines, and structures. Daubert is not helping the author as an engineer to "Protect the health, welfare, and safety of the public."
(See the National Safety Council Injury Facts, 2005-2006 Edition Pages 110-111)