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Despite Auto Safety Improvements, Deadly Accidents Increasing in Oregon

Posted September 30, 2015 - James R. Gregory, Trial Attorney

The Oregonian reported today that highway fatalities have risen 31% in the past year, according to the Department of Transportation. Pedestrian and motorcycle deaths have experienced the sharpest increases, at 64 and 15 percent, respectively.

While DOT officials declined to speculate on the reasons for the upswing, the cause is likely growth in miles driven, as we reported earlier this year. As motorists venture into unfamiliar territory, especially on rural roads, accidents increase dramatically.

Phillip C. Gilbert & Associates would like to remind you to be vigilant as you enjoy fall driving. Avoid distractions, keep your concentration up, and exercise caution on unfamiliar roads.

VW Gives Der Finger to Consumers, the EPA

Posted September 21, 2015 - James R. Gregory, Trial Attorney

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that German automaker Volkswagen added programming to the ECUs of a half million diesel vehicles, with the express purpose of cheating on U.S. emissions tests. In a show of cynicism that would even make your bitter uncle blush, VW engineered their engine management software to detect when a typical emissions test was being run, and drastically (and temporarily) reduce emissions for the test. In normal driving, the VW/Audi “Clean Diesels” belch out 40 times allowable NO emissions.

Massive fines are clearly in the offing for VW, as well as a public relations disaster that could harm the market for diesel cars for decades. Additionally, there can be no doubt that the resale values of effected vehicles will plummet, as the environmentally conscious ditch their Teutonic polluters for hybrids. Can you say diminished value?

* * UPDATE * *

The “clean diesel” link above is now returning a predictable “404” error, as VW apparently thought better than to leave it hanging in the breezes of the Interwebz. However, thanks to the Wayback Machine, the page can be enjoyed in its full glory RIGHT HERE.

GM Agrees to Begin Settlement of Deadly Ignition Switch Claims

Posted September 18, 2015 - James R. Gregory, Trial Attorney

In May of last year, the New York Times eloquently reported on how an ignition switch fault destroyed an unknown number of lives and lead to a recall of over two million vehicles. Per that Times article, GM withheld information from families and government investigators about the defect, leading one innocent driver to be charged with homicide related to the death of her boyfriend.

Yesterday, GM announced that it will spend as much as $900 million in settlement of a criminal case brought by the U.S. Department of Justice in connection with its horrific conduct in the case. This sum will be in addition to $575 million in civil settlements with private parties.

Phillip C. Gilbert & Associates applaud the Justice Department as well as lawyers for GM’s victims for bringing the company’s malfeasance to light, and securing recompense for those injured.

Portland Sinks into Auto Crash Hall of Shame

Posted September 11, 2015 - James R. Gregory, Trial Attorney

According to a recent article in the Oregonian, a study just completed by Allstate Insurance shows that Portland drivers have more automobile collisions than all but seven of the nation’s largest 200 cities.

Allstate statistical research showed that Portland drivers are involved in auto accidents once every 6.9 years, contrasted to the national average of once in a ten year span. Allstate, like most carriers, takes these types of statistics into account when evaluating risk and setting rates, so we might expect a bump in premiums as a consequence of our apparently poor driving.

Also of interest is the fact that Portland drivers experience over 18 “hard braking events” per 1,000 miles driven, again above the national average of 16 such incidents.

We’d like to remind our fellow nor’westerners of the two second rule, which helps drivers maintain safer following distances. This, in turn, reduces instances of panic braking, and rear-end accidents as well.