The road is a dangerous place, but drivers have the right to assume that car manufacturers have their safety in mind when they produce and sell vehicles. Here are some of the worst breaches of that trust to have occurred in the United States.
Ford And Firestone’s Faulty Tires
The Ford Explorer was a popular SUV released by the Detroit company in the year 2000. It was advertised as a rugged all purpose family car, but turned out to be anything but. Ford had a deal with the tire company Firestone to provide the tires for new Explorers. The tires provided by Firestone were certainly not all-purpose. They regularly blew out and punctured when driving on conventional roads. Firestone and Ford were forced to admit that they had been providing low-quality tires on their brand new vehicles. The CEOs of both companies resigned in disgrace.
Toyota Cars Just Couldn’t Stop Accelerating
Imagine, if you will, that you are carefully driving your Toyota Prius through heavy traffic, down a winding country lane or over a tight bridge. Everything is going just as it should do. You gently press on the accelerator. Instead of a gentle, steady acceleration, the car lurches forwards and just doesn’t stop getting faster! This terrifying situation befell drivers of Toyota cars all over the United States during the early 2000s.
Toyota was forced to pay $1.2 billion in reparations for accidents caused by the faulty acceleration problem. These were good times to be a car accident attorney – with thousands of individual cases being raised by consumers who had their safety put at risk.
Volkswagen Emissions Lies
Emissions standards are extremely important. Emissions from cars and trucks contribute greatly to the poor air quality in cities and geological dips. It is a safety issue that goes beyond the health of individual drivers. For this reason, cars are rigorously tested before they go on the market. Volkswagen consistently has great results. Some of those results have been a little too good in recent years. Volkswagen was found to have been installing special devices in the exhaust systems of their cars to fool testers. These ‘defeat devices’ monitored performance and notified the car’s central computer when it was being tested. If it detected a test, then the computer would alter the car’s performance to reduce emissions. If it did not detect a test, the car would churn out far more toxic gas than was legal or safe.
The Ford Pinto Just Couldn’t Stop Exploding
The Pinto was Ford’s attempt at making a nippy little compact car in the early 1970s. The car featured a rear mounted engine and fuel tank, and an extremely weak back bumper. You might be able to guess the problems that arose. Explosions regularly occurred as the result of rear end collisions – claiming dozens of lives. It was found that Ford covered up knowledge of the design flaws of the car before it was released to the public. This led to a widespread backlash.