Though former Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn publically admitted that around 11 million of his company’s vehicles had been equipped with emissions-cheating software last September, it seems as though Winterkorn may have known of the problem much earlier than he said. The New York Times reports that the authenticity of documents have been verified by two people who held senior positions with VW, though they wished to remain anonymous.
Newly released internal memos and emails indicate that top managers with the German carmaker knew that affected diesel models could not be brought into compliance with emissions standards. In fact, The New York Times reports that Wintekorn was warned that regulators may eventually accuse the company of using emissions-cheating software in May of 2014, almost a full year and a half before his admission last September.
Should U.S. officials find that Volkswagen intentionally misled regulators, thereby breaking laws based on public disclosure of problems like these, the penalties levied against VW may increase. As part of that, VW may have to pay larger settlements to owners of affected diesel vehicles. The German automaker has not yet found a technical solution that is suitable for U.S. regulators and VW may have to buy back affected vehicles from owners instead.
House Bill 700, which was filed by State Representative Jay Reedy (R) at the Tennessee House of Representatives, seeks to provide the choice of wearing a helmet to motorcycle riders while riding their motorcycles. The bill was easily passed in the House Finance, Ways and Means subcommittee.
The main provision of the bill is to make motorcycle riders who are at least 21 years old and who have motorcycle and health insurance exempted from the mandatory helmet law. The bill does not extend the same privileges to those whose health insurance is provided by the state, such as TennCare.
Supporters of the bill argue citizens should have the right to choose while those who oppose the bill claim it would be a mistake to allow riders to use their motorcycles without proper protection.
There are many factors to a dangerous motor vehicle accident on the road – defective automotive design, unsafe roadways, and irresponsible motorists. If you have been seriously hurt in a personal injury incident, such as a motorcycle accident, in Nashville or other areas in Tennessee, please get in touch with our attorneys at Pohl & Berk, LLP by calling our offices at (615) 277-2765 today.
Honda and Fiat Chrysler have issued a worldwide recall of five million vehicles to fix a defective airbag component that the automakers have known about for years. This defective component—a semiconductor that can become susceptible to corrosion—causes the airbag to do one of two things: deploy at random times, or not deploy at all when it is needed.
The defect was discovered in January of 2008 by Continental Automotive Systems, the German company that manufacturers the components that actually control the airbags in these vehicles, who then informed automakers of the defect, according to Mary Arraf, a Continental spokesperson. Arraf went on to claim that it was up to automakers to issue a recall at that point.
The fact that it has taken eight years for anything to be done about the defect is concerning, not to mention probably illegal; federal law in the United States mandates that manufacturers must inform regulators of its plans to issue a recall within five business days of becoming aware of a safety problem. Arraf indicated that “‘potentially less than two million’” vehicles may be affected in the United States.
At present, only Honda and Fiat Chrysler have initiated recalls, though a number of other car makers may eventually need to follow suit, including Mazda and Volvo. A Mazda spokesperson said that the company was still investigating. At Pohl & Berk, LLP, our firm will continue to monitor this evolving story.
In a statement made before the United States District Court in San Francisco, Robert Giuffra, a lawyer for Volkswagen, said that the German automaker may decide to buy back some of their diesel vehicles if the company is not able to make them comply with EPA air quality standards quickly enough. Giuffra is one of the attorneys defending VW against the class-action suits that have been filed against the carmaker by owners of affected diesel vehicles.
While the company has indicated in the past that it may eventually need to buy back some of its diesel vehicles in the United States, Giuffa’s statements are the clearest indication yet that the company simply does not have the technology necessary to fix the problem. That being said, VW has not made a definitive statement about what they intend to do for owners of affected vehicles.
At the time of the hearing in San Francisco, the number of vehicles that were known to be affected by the scandal was set at around 575,000. Since the Environmental Protection Agency brought the emissions cheating scandal to light in September and through the end of December in 2015, the value of VW diesel vehicles has dropped by a staggering 16 percent, according to data that is collected by Kelley Blue Book. Even steeper declines have been reported by some owners.