Earlier this month multiple media outlets, including MSNBC, reported that the Obama administration ordered a recall of almost 500,000 Volkswagen vehicles for intentional emission violations. The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) ordered its’ own vehicle issued the company a notice of violation and accused the company of breaking the law by installing software known as a “defeat device” in 4-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi vehicles from model years 2009-15. The device is programmed to detect when the car is undergoing official emissions testing, and to only turn on full emissions control systems during that testing. Those controls are turned off during normal driving situations, when the vehicles pollute far more heavily than reported by the manufacturer.
This type of recall is different than the one we saw a few years back against Toyota, which was for unexpected acceleration issues. In that case, the danger was specifically towards drivers as car accidents were alleged to be caused by the sudden acceleration. The Volkswagen recall is specifically for damage done to the environment. “Using a defeat device in cars to evade clean air standards is illegal and a threat to public health,” said Cynthia Giles, the E.P.A.’s assistant administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance. “Working closely with the California Air Resources Board, E.P.A. is committed to making sure that all automakers play by the same rules. E.P.A. will continue to investigate these very serious violations.”
This is going to be a huge financial cost to Volkswagen. They are going to face lawsuits by both the EPA to repay the government for the damage to the environment. There will also be auto defect lawsuits filed by class action attorneys looking for reimbursement for the thousands of car owners based on the reduced value of their vehicles. The interesting issue here is that the actions by Volkswagen appear to be intentional. This could create additional fines and punishment requested by the EPA.
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or injured by a Chicago auto defect, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.
The dangers of texting and driving has been well documented by media the last five years. I have discussed the topic on this blog dozens of times. I have opined again and again that the penalties for texting and driving should be increased, especially in the instance where there is an injured party. The reasoning is similar to the drunk driving laws some thirty years ago. The penalties for drinking and driving for a long time in most states were the equivalent to a slap on the wrist. It wasn’t until interest groups pressured lawmakers to increase penalties, did we finally see heftier fines and jail time for drinking and driving throughout every state. Safety advocates have been pushing for the same changes to texting and driving laws.
I have to hand it to AT&T for their recent efforts to prevent texting and driving. Their “It Can Wait” campaign, which can be found all over television and social media has been incredibly effective. Further, AT&T is now going into schools and showing students first-hand the dangers of texting and driving. The new app ‘It Can Wait” takes students on a 3D virtual reality tour of the dangers that can occur from looking at a cell phone while driving. The app “It Can Wait” can be downloaded on all IOS and Android phones. The virtual app reveals just how dangerous texting and driving is, and more importantly how quickly drivers can lose control of their vehicle when they look at their phone just for a second. I applaud AT&T for putting their money where their mouth is. This company reaps millions in profits for selling their services and smart phones, but at the same time is making a concerted effort to show how dangerous their devices can be if not used properly.
Click here to view what teen drivers are seeing through the virtual app.
If you or someone you love has been injured in Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.
According to All State Insurance Company’s 2015 “Best Driver” report, Chicago was the most unsafe drivers in the state of Illinois. Out of the 200 U.S. cities ranked, Chicago ranked 134th, with drivers having a likelihood of being in a car accident 24.4 percent more than the national average, and having an accident once every eight years. Chicago was up one spot from last year at 139.
The other Illinois towns that were ranked in the report include: Rockford ranked No. 46, with drivers having a traffic accident every 9.9 years; Aurora ranked No. 65, with drivers having a car accident every 9.2 years; and Naperville ranked 100th on the list, with drivers having an auto accident every 8.7 years.
I think looking at this report at first blush, one could easily view Chicago drivers as being much more unsafe that other drivers around the state. But, I think we need to consider the fact that there are tens of thousands of more drivers in Chicago than anywhere else in the state. And – -as I have written numerous times in the past – – Chicago is one of the most congested cities in the country. The odds of being involved in an auto accident increase exponentially while driving in Chicago merely because there are so many of other motorists on the road. I do not have any scientific evidence to back this up but I think it should be a factor rather than automatically assuming that Chicago drivers are much more careless than other places around the country.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a Chicago car accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.
The Chicago Tribune reported last month that the city of Chicago has filed a lawsuit asking for $300 million against Redflex, the red light camera company that profited due to a $2 million bribery scheme.
The 20-page lawsuit seeks triple the $124 million Redflex collected on the Chicago contract both before and after it was fired by Mayor Rahm Emanuel amid the scandal, as well as a civil penalty of up to $10,000 for each time the company made a false statement to the city. The lawsuit details an alleged conspiracy in which Redflex executives teamed up with former city official, John Bills, to orchestrate cash payments to him through a consultant acting as a bagman, as well as providing Bills with vacation trips, computers, golf outings and other perks. In exchange, according to the lawsuit, Bills coached Redflex on how to beat its competitors, orchestrated key votes at City Hall, manipulated field tests to favor the company, covered up problems with Redflex’s performance and cost taxpayers millions by encouraging city officials to buy Redflex cameras instead of leasing them.
“Had the City known that these statements were false, the City would have canceled the contracts with Redflex,” the suit alleges. “The City suffered damages in reliance of Redflex’s false statements that it had not engaged in bribery or attempted to bribe any employee of the City.”
The lawsuit is actually an intervention of an existing whistle-blower lawsuit filed by former Redflex executive Aaron Rosenberg, in Cook County Circuit Court last year.
I guess this is an attempt by the city to wipe some of the egg of their face as it was their own employee that was in the middle of the bribery scheme. How is it no one from city hall knew that this was going on at the time that the contracts for red light cameras were being bid on. I hope the city can recoup some of their money but this seems like too little too late for a program that has been drenched in controversy since day one. Not only was Redflex operating under fraudulent circumstances, but the entire purpose of the program has been called into question as it is not clear there is a safety benefit to red light cameras. I will be interested to learn what happens with this lawsuit.
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago pedestrian accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.