In the late 1950s and early 60s, Ralph Nader began the crusade that would define his life. He started taking on big companies making dangerous products.
Perhaps the most famous of his early efforts involved taking on GM over the dangers of a car called Corvair. It was an automobile built with serious design flaws making it unstable to drive – resulting in frequent rollovers. It was also built with a steering mechanism made from a solid metal shaft that extended from the front wheels of the car to the steering wheel itself. In front-end collisions, the force of each crash was transferred directly to the steering mechanism – forcing the steering wheel into the drivers of these vehicles, often killing them.
Incredibly, in the legal challenges to follow, GM held the position that they had no duty or responsibility to design automobiles that would prevent crashes or protect the car’s occupants in the event of a crash.
Thankfully, the courts strongly disagreed. Manufacturers are required to make their products “crashworthy”.
Fast forward to 2014 and the problems plaguing GM today.
To date in 2014, GM has had to recall 29 million vehicles for safety defects that in some cases have caused thousands of car accidents with many deaths. One of those safety flaws – a defective ignition switch – was known by GM engineers to be a safety hazard and ignored.
How to tell if a car you are hoping to buy is safe:
Thanks to the efforts of many consumer advocates, more rigorous safety testing is performed on all new cars and trucks. Here is a list of car safety sites to review next time you are in the market for a car:
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
- The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
- Consumer Reports’ auto issue
- The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System
An enduring truth… our justice system has often proved to be the only mechanism available to adequately protect consumers.
The lawyers at RisCassi & Davis have handled many defective product cases over our nearly 60 years serving the people of Connecticut. And we have received both state and national recognition for our work in this area.
Please contact us if we can help you. The consultation is free and there is no obligation of any kind. And – there is no fee or other costs unless we are successful on your behalf.