The Deadliest Car Defects in U.S. History

The automobile industry has eased traveling for people all over the world. Sadly, vehicles’ size and speed can make them dangerous, with many people losing their lives in crashes. Often, these accidents are a result of manufacturers defects. At times, automobile manufacturers may fail to realize the safety problems in an existing or new vehicle. Some of the more common car defects include:

  • Airbags
  • Seatbelts
  • Fuel systems
  • Braking systems

Compared to the vehicles that existed ten years ago, the new models are a lot safer, but manufacturing defects still occur. Most cars designed in previous years would not satisfy the safety standards set today. Some of the problems that existed in cars of the past included easily punctured gas tanks that could result in deadly fires.

The following are a few of the most fatal vehicle flaws in American history. Manufacturers have learned a lot from these mistakes, and they’ve come a long way regarding safety, but they still have a long way to go before deadly defects can be eliminated entirely.

Ford Model T

This particular model was developed in 1908, and it changed the automobile sector in various ways. The Ford Model T provided Americans with the most affordable car when driving regulations were non-existent. The government was yet to come up with safety rules for vehicles. In the summer of 1908, 31 people died in car accidents in Detroit, Michigan.

The gas tanks in these vehicles were situated under the car seats, which posed a fire hazard. In an accident, the windshields would easily injure anyone who was ejected from the car. In 2013, a Minnesota woman who was visiting Utah was killed in a crash after her Ford Model T overturned.

Ford Pinto

The manufacturing flaw of this model ultimately became a massive scandal for the company. The gas tank in the Pinto model was susceptible to collision damage and would cause leaks and fires. Ford Pinto was also said to change gears by itself. These flaws led to a minimum of 51 deaths, although the final tally could be higher. Though Ford was charged with reckless homicide, these charges were dropped in 1980.

Chevrolet Corvair

This vehicle model gained a lot of popularity until a PR nightmare happened due to the high number of accidents. Ernie Kovacs, a comedian, passed away in 1962 after being involved in an accident while in his Chevrolet Corvair.

Ralph Nader pointed out that the model was unsafe for driving at any speed due to the flawed nature of the car’s handling. Chevrolet ultimately stated that the Corvair was susceptible to fishtailing. This is particularly true when drivers are driving fast, and the air pressure in the front and back tires differ significantly.

Audi 5000

The primary design issue with the Audi 5000 resulted in significant modifications in the automobile sector. More than 1,600 accidents of the model were reported during the 70s and 80s. The car would change gear and accelerate by themselves leading to several accidents and deaths.

Volkswagen, the holding company for Audi, incorporated shift locks to every Audi 5000 model vehicle. Currently, the feature must be included in all its cars.

Suzuki Samurai

The Suzuki Samurai was an SUV manufactured initially in 1985. The top of the vehicle was significantly heavy, which made the model a safety hazard. According to Consumer Reports, the test outcomes of the Suzuki Samurai revealed the cars were likely to overturn.

At first, the company was hesitant to accept those reports. However, after numerous cases of the Samurai rolling over, Suzuki acknowledged the more than 8,000 injuries and 200 deaths caused by their model.

From a legal standpoint, there is always at least one party at fault in a crash (source: If the at-fault party in your accident was a manufacturer, it’s important that they be held accountable.



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