Auto Industry

“Smart” Cars a Move in the Wrong Direction

Robert Sachs, Esq. Qualcomm, a massive communication technology corporation, says that high-speed 4G network connectivity is the next big thing for the car industry. Qualcomm stresses the benefits of fast connection for cars, claiming that drivers can use 4G to for in-car navigation, companies can monitor fleets of vehicles, and insurance companies locate and disable stolen cars. While all of these promises sound great at first, they pose problems on multiple levels. First and foremost, they exacerbate distracted driving–a problem roughly the same and equally as serious as driving drunk. Distracted driving is an epidemic. Although seriously underreported, distracted …


Takata Airbag Recall Prompts DOT Investigation of NHTSA

Tad Thomas, Esq. As you may have heard already, the recall of nearly 8 million vehicles with Takata Corp. airbags is expected to be one of the largest recalls in history. Instead of inflating, Takata airbags explode, sending shrapnel and severely injuring–even killing–drivers. At least three deaths have been linked to the defect. Notably, the recall was limited to high-humidity regions for its suspected link to the defect, but lawmakers are urging a nationwide recall. Two of the deaths were not in states included in the recall, and Takata is one of three airbag suppliers in the world. Last …


GM Acknowledges Defect Death Count Has Risen to 23, Payouts Begin

Tad Thomas, Esq. The GM ignition switch death toll has risen from 13 to 23. The confirmation comes from attorney Kenneth Feinberg, largely known as the expert on disaster payouts. Many have suspected far more deaths (hundreds more) since the beginning of the recall, but GM staunchly confirmed only 13 until now. Today, we’re not surprised that more have been confirmed.  GM CEO Mary Barra told reporters that she is not surprised either (Detroit News). Feinberg is in charge of evaluating applications for compensation by families that claim to have lost a loved one to an accident caused by the …


NV Legal Aid Center Sues Over Early Electronic Repossession of Cars

Brian Nettles, Esq. The Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada has filed a class action lawsuit against a financing company that uses global positioning software (“GPS”) to remotely shutdown vehicles before customers legally default on payments. At the heart of the lawsuit is a concern of how electronic repossession harms consumers, many of whom are already having trouble making ends meet. The lawsuit alleges that the company, C.A.G. Acceptance LLC, electronically repossessed vehicles–in other words, deactivated them–long before customers defaulted on their payments. In one story, a struggling mother’s payment was “dishonored,” and, her minivan deactivated 20 days too early. …


NY Times Finds NHTSA and Auto Manufacturers Closer Partners Than You Think

Tad Thomas, Esq. It’s no secret that the auto industry has had quite the year, from multi-million car recalls to unprecedented lawsuits that rank with the BP oil spill and 9/11 in questions of injury compensation. But while manufacturer officials are certainly guilty of permitting millions of fatality flawed cars on the road, there is another guilty party being overlooked: the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA). NHTSA, an agency to improve auto and traffic safety, was founded in 1970 as part of the federal Transportation Department. Today, it has an annual budget of $800 million, which it splits …


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