Someone else is responsible

The SE Texas Record Nov. 27, 2010, 3:50am

A car, when purchased, should be reasonably safe to operate.

It should have a full complement of lug nuts to keep the wheels attached, the steering mechanism should guide the vehicle's course and the brakes should arrest its forward or backward motion within a time and space proportionate to its speed.

Subsequent to purchase, the maintenance of an automobile's proper functioning is the responsibility of the owners. Tires have to be replaced occasionally, and the wheels realigned and re-secured. Steering fluid and brake fluid may have to be added every now and then, and brake pads need to be replaced at intervals.

Sensible driving habits are also important. Ignoring red lights and stop signs is ill-advised, as is speeding on wet or icy surfaces. Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol is hazardous, as is talking on a cell phone, shaving, or setting one's hair.

Car manufacturers cannot anticipate, much less protect against, every possibility with their products. In fact, ongoing efforts to do so seem to blind some motorists to the inherent dangers of driving. The fear is that these drivers can become increasingly reckless and more likely to blame others for their driving ineptitude.

Tyler residents Manuel and Evelia Hernandez are suing General Motors because their child was injured while riding in a 2004 Chevy Tahoe. The driver lost control of the vehicle and it rolled over, partially ejecting their child.

The Hernandezes argue that the Tahoe is an unreasonably dangerous and defective vehicle because it does not contain ejection-mitigating glass or a side canopy system to prevent partial ejection.

The Tahoe has additional deficiencies not cited in the lawsuit. It lacks bullet-proof glass for safe travel through tough neighborhoods. Nor does it have propellers for navigating flash floods. Its side panels cannot withstand the impact of a speeding locomotive.

Should we assume that some willing upholder of the rule of law could be found out there to sue GM on one or all of these counts if circumstances dictate? No, we should not, but one has to wonder.

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