Dallas Law Firm Blog

Can a car be defective even if it meets all governmental standards?

The short answer is yes. To begin with, not all aspects of vehicle design or performance are regulated by governmental standards. For example, there are no governmental regulations that require a vehicle to resist on road rollover. However, many vehicles, such as the Ford Bronco II, the Ford Explorer, the Mitsubishi Montero Sport have been found by courts and juries to be defective because they experienced on road rollovers under foreseeable driving conditions. But even when a governmental standard does apply, it is just a minimal standard. The standard is not meant to prevent auto manufacturers from making their vehicles safer if they can by using reasonable designs and manufacturing techniques.

Regulation cannot succeed in protecting Americans alone. The creation of regulations is slow and vulnerable to influence by the auto manufacturers due to the revolving door relationship between the car manufacturers and the agencies. As a result, regulation is an incomplete protection. Since the 1960s, the civil justice system has worked to make Americans safer. Design defect litigation has enforced safety standards, revealed previously concealed defects and regulatory weaknesses, and deterred manufacturers from cutting corners on safety for the sake of greater profits.