When drivers or passengers are the victims of negligence, the results can be serious. In many cases, negligent drivers are the ones to blame. But in other cases, automakers are to blame for deadly car crashes.
A traffic crash involving a defective vehicle claimed the life of a University of Washington student back in 2014. Her 2006 Saturn Ion vehicle had been fitted with ignition switches that could fail, causing the engine to shut down unexpectedly.
The crash happened after the victim was sent a letter alerting about the campaign. But General Motors, the makers of the Saturn vehicles, did not have enough replacement parts to make sure that the victim’s car was repaired.
As the victim drove her vehicle on Interstate 81, the ignition switch caved in. As the engine went off, the vehicle crashed into the back of a semi-truck. Because the vehicle was traveling at 60 miles per hour, the impact killed the driver instantly.
Because the engine had turned off unexpectedly moments before the crash, the air bag system failed to deploy the life-saving features.
Unfortunately, this incident was one of the 124 deadly crashes involving these recalled GM vehicles. And despite the outrage associated with one of the most scandalous auto recall stories in US history, the families of victims are still left wondering why nobody went to jail over this incredible case of negligence.
To many families who lost loved ones to similar accidents prompted by the unexpected engine shutdown, the fact little has been done to hold those who are responsible for the persistence of this problem accountable is heartbreaking. That’s why the young woman’s family is now focusing their efforts to change the auto recall laws in the country.
Currently, automakers are required by law to launch recall campaigns within days of learning that an equipment issue has been reported. But they are still not required to make sure repairs are made. Without penalties for not ensuring recalled vehicles are fixed, consumers are more likely to being exposed to risks since automakers will not be in a rush to have issues addressed.
According to official data, 30 percent of vehicles impacted by recalls are never fixed. That means that 1 out of every 6 cars you see on the road are potentially defective.
Hopefully, families like the one whose loved one was killed in a tragic, preventable crash will be able to see things change for the better. If consumers and automakers begin putting safety first, accidents caused by equipment failure may finally be a thing of the past.
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