In its brief, the U.S. Chamber argued that evidence of failure to use a seat belt in an automobile accident is admissible as evidence under current Texas state law. The coalition argued that Texas law has moved to a tort liability system based on proportionate responsibility. As a result, Texas juries are to consider all factors contributing to a plaintiff’s injuries, not just which driver caused an accident. The amici’s brief also argues that Texas law, custom and public policy have well established the value and effectiveness of seat belts; a jury assessing facts and circumstances of an accident can determine that a person’s failure to use a seat belt qualifies as negligence.
The U.S. Chamber filed this brief jointly with the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. Victor Schwartz, Phil Goldberg and Scott A. James of Shook, Hardy & Bacon served as co-counsel to the amici with the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center.