It is rare that a large corporation, and especially its CEO, will admit liability and own up to mistakes. However, the CEO of General Motors recently did just that. North Carolina readers may be interested in learning about how the company did not appropriately identify an auto defect as a dangerous product. Now, the auto giant has admitted blame and is taking steps to protect consumers.
At the heart of the issue is a flawed ignition switch that has been linked to several deaths and injuries. If the impaired switches are accidentally bumped, it can result in the car losing power. When this happens, many safety systems within the vehicle are unable to function, such as air bags, power brakes and power steering. For reasons unknown and not explained, GM believed that the issues relating to this problem were actually a customer satisfaction problem and not a safety issue.
With the increased successes of Google’s self-driving cars, more and more auto manufacturers are entering into the high-tech world of vehicles that can drive with less and less human intervention. While this is exciting new technology, debates have raged over whether this is a truly safe endeavor. With the recent death of a Tesla driver who was killed while his car was driving on Autopilot, many in North Carolina and around the country have joined in concern over what may be actually be a dangerous product.
In the first documented case of a fatality caused by a wreck while a car was in self-driving mode, a man who recently praised the technology perished. The car’s cameras were unable to distinguish between a brightly lit sky and the white side of a turning 18-wheeler. According to the driver of the semi, it appeared that the driver was watching a movie during the time of the crash, which was still playing after the man passed through the truck and crashed into a telephone pole just down the road. Tesla has since said that watching a movie on the touchscreen in the car is impossible.
For several months, auto manufacturers have been recalling vehicles outfitted with defective Takata-made airbags. This dangerous product has caused multiple injuries and fatalities when deployed in certain conditions, and there is now a massive recall in effect. Those in North Carolina may be interested in the details behind this unfolding story.
Cars on the road today have a host of devices that keep drivers safe in the event of an accident. Though many manufacturers are putting out vehicles with high-tech safety mechanisms such as early warning crash alerts and even some elements that actually stop a car automatically in the event of an impending wreck, the mainstay of vehicle safety devices for years has been airbags. However, a potentially fatal airbag flaw has actually turned this ultimate safety device into a dangerous product for drivers in North Carolina and around the country who drive vehicles with Takata airbags.
Although the Food and Drug Administration regulates drugs before releasing them to be marketed, thousands of people nationwide, including here in North Carolina, suffer adverse side effects every year. Manufacturers of drugs can be held accountable for injuries caused by an unreasonably dangerous or defective drug. A lawsuit was recently filed against Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals and several other defendants, alleging personal injuries caused by one of the company’s products.
When a North Carolina consumer purchases a product and uses it according to the manufacturer’s instructions, he or she has a reasonable right to expect that it is safe to use. Some products, such as power tools, obviously have a certain amount of inherent risk during use. Even then, a consumer must be protected against design flaws or defects that can pose safety hazards. A vast recall in the United States of more than 19 million motor vehicles led to an international recall when a defective product within the vehicles was said to have the potential to explode, shooting fragments of metal at passengers.
McNeil Consumer Healthcare is currently facing lawsuits regarding one of the most well-known brands of pain relievers — Tylenol. Marketing suggests that the drug is not a harmful drug and that it is the drug most recommended by doctors. What consumers in North Carolina and elsewhere were not told, apparently, concerns potential health risks associated with high dosages.
It appears as though everything that was predicted about the Internet of things or simply IoT, is coming to pass. Soon, nearly any device will be able to be networked, making it easy for organizations to collect and collate data across millions of interconnected machines. However, every technology comes with risks, and the IoT-enabled gadgets have been the target of malware. According to Naked Security, past targets range from Bluetooth-enabled skateboards to Jeep Cherokees. It seems that now, the creators of malware have taken the game a notch higher, introducing ransomware-based attacks on wearable devices.
Consumers in North Carolina might wish to take note of a recent class action lawsuit filed against a major brand company. The product liability case involves a claim of false advertising. Those involved in the action say that the companies involved continued to sell the product in question even though they knew it would not perform as advertised.
“They worked hard for me after I was involved in an auto accident. I appreciate their efforts and making me feel like family.”