Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pointing the finger

Walker and daughter
I feel sorry for the daughter of the late actor Paul Walker, whose name is Meadow Rain Walker. As you might recall, her father was killed in November, 2013, when he was riding in a high-performance 2005 Porsche Carrera GT car being driven by his buddy Roger Rodas.  I don't know if being "driven" is exactly right; maybe it's better to say it was being "occupied" by Walker and Rodas, and proceeding at a speed estimated by the Los Angeles County Coroner at 100 mph and by the LA County Sheriff as being "between 80 and 93 mph at the time the car impacted a power pole and several trees."

This took place on an office park road in Santa Clarita, California, where the posted speed limit is 45 mph.

But Monday brought the news that Meadow has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Porsche, claiming the car had multiple design flaws. She has an attorney named Jeff Milam putting out a statement that says: "The bottom line is that the Porsche Carrera GT is a dangerous car. It doesn't belong on the street. And we shouldn't be without Paul Walker or his friend, Roger Rodas."

Calvin Kim works for Porsche Cars North America, and he could not comment, beyond saying, "As we have said before, we are saddened whenever anyone is hurt in a Porsche vehicle, but we believe the authorities' reports in this case clearly established that this tragic crash resulted from reckless driving and excessive speed." 

Walker played the part of Brian O'Conner in the "Fast and Furious" movies, and was in the midst of filming the seventh of them when he went for that one last ride. He was 40. 

His daughter and her lawyer say, "The vehicle lacked safety features that are found on well-designed racing cars or even Porsche's least expensive road cars -- features that could have prevented the accident or, at a minimum, allowed Paul Walker to survive the crash." And, their claim is that the car was puttering along "at approximately 63 to 71 mph when it suddenly went out of control."

Another feature that would have prevented the accident would have been if the driver had been following the speed limit. Doing so has been found to be a leading deterrent to running into trees.

Investigators found "no pre-existing conditions that would have caused this collision," according to the death report. Experts from Porsche and Michelin were consulted at the time.

I once bought a sledge hammer for the purpose of hammering some sledge I had to get rid of. On the shaft of that hammer was a decal warning me against hitting myself with the hammer, lest it cause me serious injury.  The big question here is, should carmakers be forced to put decals on the dashboards of cars, decals saying "Driving too fast will cause you to lose control of the vehicle, which could lead to your sudden death" ?
Walker death car

I'm being serious here.  Have we become so lacking in personal responsibility that someone else always has to pay for our mistakes?

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