Seat Belt can Save Lives; However, These can also Cause Deaths

There are occasions when a vehicle has to be recalled, either by the manufacturer or by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) through a court order due to the following reasons:

  1. The same type of problem or defect has been identified in a group of vehicles of the same design and same year model;
  2. The defect poses a risk to the safety of the driver, passengers or anyone else on the road; and,
  3. The vehicle itself or any of its parts do not comply with the minimum performance requirement standards set by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). These standards make sure that a vehicle can be operated safely and that the driver and passengers would have enough protection from serious injury or death in the event of a crash. The FMVSS has actually set standards for tires, brakes, lighting, child restraints, air bags and safety belts, among others.

Vehicle recalls usually happen due to complaints consumers make to the vehicle manufacturer or to the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI), a department of the NHTSA. In October of 2014, for instance, Chrysler had to recall about 184,215 of its SUVs worldwide due to defective airbags and seat belts; this was besides the more than 850,000 vehicles that Ford already recalled in September of the same year (due to the same problem).

Seat belts keep drivers and passengers from hitting with great force any of a car’s interior parts (such as a door window, dashboard, or windshield) during an accident, thus, providing them with the best protection against serious injuries. Sadly, however, seat belts are not only known as life-saving devices. In some instances, instead of saving lives, these have caused injuries or death – due to defects.

A defective or malfunctioning seat belt may be because of poor manufacturing or poor design. Every year, at least 10,000 (of the more than 30,000) individuals who die in car crashes are said to have died due to faulty seat belts.

“Despite all the government testing and consumer warnings,” according to Investor Lawyers at Erez Law, “ innocent people are still being injured and killed daily by dangerous products. Whether the harm was caused by a manufacturing defect or a failure to warn of possible side effects, a product liability lawyer can fight to get compensation for your pain and suffering.” This it is important that you contact a car accident or a personal injury lawyer immediately after an accident.

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What You Should Know About The Volkswagen Scandal

German automaker giant Volkswagen is under pressure to refit its newer cars after the discovery of an intricately designed software device intended to defeat emissions tests. The controversy has caused the car company to lose $28 billion worth of market value in just one week. Apart from this decline, the refitting itself would cost the company more than $6.5 billion. The international scandal impacted the car market so hard that Martin Winterkorn decided to step down just days after the revelation.

According to the website of The Driscoll Firm, the “defeat device” enables the car to sense that it is under an emissions test, allowing it to make certain adjustments to meet emissions standards. But how is it possible? The software analyzes factors that would tell whether the car is driving in road condition or it is being tested. These factors include the position of the steering wheel, the duration of the engine operation, the barometric pressure, and the speed.

The trick begins once the car senses that it is being tested. During an emissions test, the car will switch to “dyno calibration,” where it will use a rich mixture for combustion. You might think that a rich mixture produces more unburned fuel and pollutants, which will definitely fail any emissions test. But because Volkswagen cars are equipped with NOx adsorbers (also called NOx trap or LNT), whose trapping capacity is enhanced with unburned fuel, a rich mixture fuel is what they need to pass the test.

On the other hand, during normal conditions, the affected Volkswagen cars will drive using a leaner mixture. Now, a study proposed by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) found that during regular operations, the car emits up to 40 times above the emissions standards. This is because leaner mixtures now only pass through the exhaust’s NOx adsorber (i.e. not trap it), allowing high levels of NOx gases to be released freely in the air.

If you’re a Volkswagen owner, this software trickery could significantly affect you. Apart from being deceived that you had bought a clean diesel car, future recalls to reprogram the software might require a visit to your local dealership, which could mean precious time wasted.

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