Battery Fire “Sparks” Debate About Automobile Safety

General Motors offered to buy back Chevrolet Volt vehicles after a defect investigation was opened into the car's battery. The National Highway Safety Administration opened the investigation after two Volt batteries caught on fire following crash simulations.

The first battery caught on fire three weeks following a simulation. The second battery caught on fire only a week later. In yet another simulated crash, a battery emitted smoke and a spark. There is currently no explanation for the battery fires.

To appease customer concerns, GM offered free loaner vehicles to Volt owners while the investigation into the fires continued. GM's Executive Director also announced that the car company would buy back the hybrid from all unsatisfied customers.

Demands for loaner vehicles have been sparse, with no reports of customers seeking buybacks. The company received considerable praise for its quick response to the federal investigation, but a single injury could change public opinion over night.

Auto Defects Cause Fatal Accidents

Car accidents are serious business. In 2009, car accidents accounted for over 30,000 fatalities and more than 2.5 million injuries. Medical care and work productivity losses from car accidents cost the nation an estimated $99 billion per year.

Costs attributable to car accident fatalities alone exceed $41 billion annually. Half of these costs are attributable to just 10 states. Georgia is one of these states. The costs are due to medical care and work productivity losses.

The single greatest factor contributing to car accidents is human error, but accidents are rarely the result of just one simple mistake. Additional factors contributing to serious and catastrophic car accident injuries often include poor vehicle design and the defective manufacturing of parts.

Many of us are aware of the tragic and unnecessary injuries that can occur from poorly designed vehicles from media reports. Over the years, a number of vehicles have become infamous for their poor design.

With increasing consumer demand for safer vehicles, companies have substantially ramped up efforts to build safe cars. More safety features and increased attention, however, does not mean that auto defects no longer contribute to car accidents.

Product defect and poor design continue to cause serious road hazards including tire blowouts, brake failure, and steering problems. Injuries from defective products have also included such serious injuries as third degree burns and traumatic brain injuries.

Whenever there is a car accident resulting in injuries, it is important to discuss the incident with a knowledgeable attorney. Understanding the cause of the accident and holding the responsible parties accountable could save future lives. Accidents may be inevitable, and injuries unavoidable, but poor design and defective products are preventable.