Motorcycle-truck crash blamed on taillight dimming paint

Publish Date: 
Feb 4, 2013

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Countless accidents happen because motorists don’t see motorcycle riders.

In a recent case, the injured rider alleged he couldn’t see a truck because of paint that dimmed its taillights.

Clayton Wood of Defiance, Mo., was paralyzed from the waist down after his motorcycle struck the back of Clayton Robinson's 1978 Chevrolet pickup in 2010. The lawsuit alleged that taillight-dimming paint was a factor, and sought $28 million in damages from Sherwin-Williams, the maker of "Nite-Shades" that was used to tint Robinson's taillights.

A jury ruled Jan. 31 that Sherwin-Williams, which markets the paint for off-road use only, was not liable in the accident, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. But Robinson and other defendants have already settled out of court with Wood for a combined $1.8 million.

The suit said taillight embellishments, such as tints, stickers, covers and paint, are becoming more and more common and dangerous.

"The last thing I would want is for everyone to think this (verdict) is a green light _ that it's OK to black out your taillights," Wood's attorney, John Medler, said. "If anything, I hope this is a cautionary tale. If you black out your taillights, you could leave someone with serious bodily injury."

Robinson's truck passed state inspection four days before the wreck in St. Louis County. Medler argued the truck would not have passed if a friend of Robinson's hadn't approved it.

The attorney for the Sherwin-Williams, Steven Holden, said Wood's crash was the first report of an accident related to the product in its 30-year history.

Posted by Holly Wagner