Structural flaws, including design and manufacturing defects, can leave the occupants of a vehicle vulnerable in an accident or when the vehicle is moving at high speed. They can increase the chances of collision, rollover, fire, and occupant ejection which, in turn, increase the risk of serious injury and death.
Design and Manufacturing Choices
The auto industry in the U.S. has been criticized for decades regarding vehicle design and manufacturing defects. The pressure to make attractive, affordable vehicles that meet fuel efficiency requirements and other standards has frequently resulted in cost-cutting measures and shortcuts that produce structural defects and decrease safety.
Lighter, Weaker Steel
For example, low-gauge, weaker steel is sometimes used for structural aspects of a vehicle (whether a car, SUV, truck or van) such as:
Automakers try to keep a vehicle's weight down to help meet fuel efficiency guidelines and to save manufacturing and material costs, and as a weight-cutting measure, low-gauge steel is often used for these structural components sometimes with disastrous results.
Structural Adhesives Instead of Welds
In addition, some automakers have been substituting structural welds with an industrial glue known as "structural adhesive." Although this may save money, labor, and time compared to welding, structural adhesive is not as strong as a weld. Important components of a vehicle can fail at a crucial time because the strength of the adhesive is not adequate.
Other Vehicle Design Defects
Examples of other dangerous vehicle design defects are numerous, such as poor designs or failures involving a vehicle's:
Air bags (failure to deploy, injury-inducing deployment)
Fuel tank and fuel line (placement issues)
Rollover risk (particularly in SUVs, vans, trucks)
Roof strength (insufficient strength)
Seat belts (latch problems)
Seatbacks (malfunctions resulting in seatback collapse)
Tires (tread separation, tire blowout)
Windows (tempered vs. laminated glass)
Discuss Vehicle Design and Manufacturing Defects with an Attorney
If you suspect that your accident and injuries were due to a vehicle design or manufacturing defect, discuss your case with an attorney. You may be entitled to compensation for your losses.