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Volkswagen's Cheating Device Causes Serious Health Risks

Posted By Kevin R. Duck || 23-Nov-2015

In September of 2015 the automobile manufacturing company Volkswagen (VW) admitted to the use of illegal devices designed to cheat U.S emissions standards in numerous vehicles produced from 2009 to 2016. These fraudulent actions by VW endangered public health and represent a clear violation of the Clean Air Act. Worldwide, more than 11 million diesel vehicles may have been affected and domestically, recalls may reach upwards of half a million units. The automaker may now be facing billions of dollars in federal penalties as well as consumer lawsuits.

The defeat device used by VW in their vehicles consists of software that is able to detect when a vehicle is undergoing emissions testing. At that time, the device enables additional emissions control not present during normal vehicle operation. In a notice of violation issued to VW, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) noted that affected vehicles emitted nitrogen oxides (NOx) at up to levels 40 times greater than what was initially tested.

Standards regulating the amount of NOx that can legally be emitted from vehicles are set in place by the EPA for the protection of public health. Under the Clean Air Act, it is also illegal for manufactures to sell or install components intended to bypass or defeat vehicle regulations. In this way, VW has committed at least two violations of the Clean Air Act.

Vehicles affected by the VW defeat device emissions fraud include:

  • Jetta (2009-2015)
  • Jetta Sportwagen (2009-2014)
  • Beetle (2013-2015)
  • Beetle Convertible (2013-2015)
  • Audi A3 (2010-2015)
  • Golf (2010-2015)
  • Golf Sportwagen (2015)
  • Passat (2012-2015)
  • Volkswagen Touareg (2009-2016)
  • Porsche Cayenne (2013-2016)
  • Audi A6 Quattro (2014-2016)
  • Audi A7 Quattro (2014-2016)
  • Audi A8 (2014-2016)
  • Audi A8L (2014-2016)
  • Audi Q5 (2014-2016)
  • Audi Q7 (2009-2016)

The automaker also deceived consumers by marketing many of these vehicles as being better for the environment and more fuel efficient than other cars. Numerous class action and individual lawsuits by consumers have been filed against Volkswagen for fraud, breach of contract, and the lost value of vehicles.

The EPA has now made it their mission to ensure that this type of cheating device can never again be used. They have now begun testing for defeat devices across all automotive manufacturing companies. The EPA estimates that since their founding, their programs have helped to reduce air pollution by 70% and these reinforced testing methods will help administer clean air standards and strengthen public safety.

Methods used by the EPA to enforce emission standards compliance:

  • Pre-production, prototype, and production dynamometer testing
  • Testing using portable emissions monitors (PEMs) to simulate real-world conditions
  • Audits conducted to ensure data quality standards from manufactures
  • Enforcement of the Clean Air Act to deter emissions test cheating

This is not the first time that defeat devices have been used by the automotive industry to sell cars which would not otherwise pass emissions testing. In 1998 the EPA filed a lawsuit against major diesel engine manufacturers in the U.S., alleging that “heavy trucks” were being equipped with defeat devices. This led to a settlement of approximately $1 billion against truck engine manufacturers.

Are You an Affected VW Owner? Call (337) 660-2699

If you are an owner of an affected vehicle manufactured by the Volkswagen automotive company, you may be able to claim monetary compensation. Our Lafayette VW litigation attorney can advise you on the options regarding individual and class action lawsuits. Attorney Kevin Duck has more than 23 years of experience in the courtroom and has won millions of dollars in settlements for past clients.

For more information about the Volkswagen scandal, known as Dieselgate, read the following:

Attorney Kevin Duck has made appearances as a guest lecturer and speaker at national conferences for litigation concerning the VW scandal.

Call (337) 660-2699 to schedule a free consultation and discover your options today.

Categories: Volkswagen Lawsuits
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