Car Crashes Caused by Malfunctioning Vehicle Computer Systems

Personal Injury Lawyer

When most people think about the causes of car accidents, they typically think of behaviors that a driver engages in that results in a crash. Distracted driving, speeding, and drunk driving are all frequent causes of accidents that often result in victims becoming injured.

A car accident attorney knows that another common cause of car crashes is defective or dangerous parts that are in a vehicle that somehow malfunction. Two of the most recent examples of these types of accidents are defective ignition switches and defective airbags. There have been millions of vehicles recalled because these parts were defective. Tragically, there have been many people killed or severely injured because of these parts.

One frequent type of accident we see here at our firm are crashes caused by malfunctioning of anti-lock braking system (ABS). The ABS is a braking system which is assisted by a computer in the vehicle. The system is designed to also allow a driver to safely steer the vehicle in emergency situations and avoid crashing.

For example, if you start skidding on ice, the ABS helps the vehicle maintain traction again. Unlike older style brakes, anti-lock brakes prevent the vehicle’s tires from locking up. When the system is engaged, the brake pedal almost feels as if it is pulsating or pushing back. When this happens, drivers should still continue to slowly push their brake pedal down and not let up on the brake. New model vehicles will also notify you that the ABS has been engaged.

Along with the brakes, other parts of the vehicle which are controlled by the vehicle’s computer include electronic stability control, front-to-rear bias, traction control, and emergency brake assist. This is called the electronic stability control system (ESC). This system has sensors which checks to make sure that your vehicle is moving in the same direction as the steering wheel and if it is not, the ESC will apply the brakes to whichever tire or tires need to be redirected.

These systems designed to make driving safer, however, there is a high risk of danger if the computer system in the vehicle malfunctions. And the more sophisticated these systems come, the more likely it is that something in the system will malfunction. If this happens, the results can be fatal.

If the malfunction is caused by a design flaw, this defect is not usually discovered until there have been reports of drivers having issues. However, as we have seen in other design flaws, such as the ignition switches and airbags, multiple victims are killed or left with horrific injuries before consumers are informed about the dangers lurking in their vehicle.

There is also the issue of finding technicians who are qualified to repair vehicle computer systems when they do fail. As auto manufacturers continue to develop highly technological systems, it becomes harder to find people who are trained and experienced in repairing them when there is an issue.

This can lead to many vehicles on the road being driving with faulty computer systems or vehicle owners unaware that the person they thought repaired the problem was unqualified to do so and the repair was not done properly. Both those scenarios spike the risk that any one of us could be the victim of a crash caused by a malfunctioning vehicle computer system.

If you have been injured in a crash caused by a defective or malfunctioning part, contact a car accident lawyer Washington, DC relies on today to meet with one of our car accident attorneys to discuss what your legal options may be.



Thank you to our friends and contributors at Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their insight into car accidents and injuries.