MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota. When we think about the risk that cars pose to our safety and health, we often think about car accidents, distracted driving, and drunk driving. Yet, cars also pose another deadly hidden risk. According to Fortune, 40,000 people died in car accidents in 2016 alone, making 2016 the deadliest year on record in the last decade. Yet, a recent MIT study has found that these deaths may only account for a fraction of the people impacted by car usage in America. In fact, according to researchers, more people may be dying early deaths due to car air pollution than those who are dying in car accidents.
According to MIT, air pollution is linked to 200,000 early deaths each year. How serious is the problem? Researchers indicate that on average, a person who dies due to air pollution exposure will die a decade earlier. When the data was further analyzed, researchers found that deaths due to air pollution linked to cars numbered 52,000 each year. This is more people than the number killed in car accidents each year. Who is most affected? Studies indicated that people who lived on the east coast were at risk as well as people who live in the mid-west.
The results should send a strong message to lawmakers and regulators about the importance of regulating emissions. People’s lives are on the line. Yet, policymakers may be doing the opposite. According to CNN, Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency wants to change the fuel efficiency standards established under the Obama administration. California has tougher standards and it looks like this might start a battle between the EPA and California. Yet, California has good reason to set its standards high. Researchers have found that California residents are the most at risk of premature death due to car emissions out of the 50 states. California plans to pursue lawsuits if the federal government tries to lower its emissions standards.
While local lawmakers prepare to battle it out with the federal government, it raises the questions about what rights individuals might have in this situation. If the data shows that car emissions can cause premature death, could individuals theoretically pursue class action personal injury lawsuits against car manufacturers who don’t take steps to reduce emissions? Car manufacturers surely must be aware of the risk of emissions. Just as tobacco lawsuits initially seemed like a long-shot and eventually resulted in big wins for families impacted by smoking, could car manufacturers face a similar fate?
As it stands, it is up to the government to set federal standards. When these standards run contrary to local standards, it could open the floor for debate about what is or isn’t safe for the public. The Law Office of Martin T. Montilino are car accident attorneys in Minneapolis, Minnesota who closely watch how regulations impact public safety. We also assist victims of car accidents who have suffered personal injuries due to the neglect or negligence of another person or party. Visit our firm at https://www.martinmontilino.com/ to learn more about your options and rights.
The Law Office of Martin T. Montilino, LLC
3109 Hennepin Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Phone: (612) 236-1320