Effective civil trial lawyers punish individuals, corporations, and governments for irresponsible behavior. One of the biggest culprits has been the auto industry. Thanks to large jury verdicts, the industry has been forced to knuckle under to the public’s demand for safer vehicles. However, safety issues remain.
Safety belts could be more effective. Vehicles could be designed to rollover less easily. Roofs could be reinforced to avoid crush injuries during rollovers. Stale tires could be taken off the market. Air bags could be less crude, more effective.
These are well-known safety issues. To its credit, the auto industry has made some improvements in these areas. However, more can always be done. When the industry falls short, lawsuits will be brought to exact accountability. Safety should never take a back seat to luxury. Profits should never be more important than people.
One area where the industry continues to fall woefully short is in its attention to submerged vehicle deaths. While safety improvements have been made regarding safety belts, rollover accidents, tires, and air bags, little has been done to increase the likelihood of surviving a crash into water.
In fact, because of the near universal use of electric windows and the increased use of window glazing in side windows, similar to what is used in front windshields, the danger of drowning in a submerged vehicle has increased since the 1970s.
The safest way to exit a submerged vehicle is through a side window. Unfortunately, except for some off-road vehicles, like Jeeps and Hummers, that are equipped with built-in protections for water-fording, such as a sealed central venting system to protect drivetrain components from moisture, the electrical systems in today’s vehicles quickly malfunction when exposed to water, preventing the side windows from opening.