American Association for Justice President Discusses How Litigation Advances Vehicle Safety

American Association for Justice (AAJ) President Gibson Vance says litigation has played a crucial role in consumer safety and manufacturer accountability in the auto industry. Gibson said that litigation and the civil justice system have, “served as the most consistent and powerful forces in heightening safety standards, revealing previously concealed defects and regulatory weaknesses and deterring manufacturers from cutting corners on safety for the goal of greater profits.”

Gibson cited the Ford Pinto case specifically when he said, “Had compliance with federal standards been a complete defense of vehicle safety, Ford could not have been held accountable for the many burn victims that the company was later shown to have anticipated.” He further added that the auto industry’s effort to limit its liability and skirt regulations is “devastating for consumers.”

The Ford Pinto was a subcompact car produced by Ford from 1971 to 1980. The Pinto’s defective fuel system design made the vehicle susceptible to fires and explosions in rear-end collisions. Twenty-seven people died from the product defect.

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