In September 2015, the Volkswagen Group was thrust into the spotlight when US authorities called their attention to the alleged use of cheat software to falsify emissions testing results. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board said Audi and Volkswagen diesel vehicles sold in the US are not emissions-compliant and this led to the carmaker paying fines, taking care of class-action lawsuits, and recalling affected vehicles in various countries.
The carmaker has spent over £26 billion in fines, buyback schemes, civil settlements, and compensation.
Fast forward to 2022 and Volkswagen is still experiencing the repercussions of lying to and cheating their customers.
Over 90,000 car owners in England and Wales are expected to receive compensation from the carmaker after they settled a claim in the High Court about the use of emissions cheating software. VW is set to spend at least £193 million for all their legal responsibilities. As mentioned, they have already paid over £26 billion over the years.
Aside from the use of cheat devices, authorities and car owners also said that VW lied about their vehicles’ sustainability ratings, which did not only affect performance and car value.
Mercedes-Benz, which has also been caught using cheat devices, is expected to follow in the footsteps of VW and work on a settlement with authorities and their customers.
The 2015 Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal saw not only the Volkswagen Group but also other vehicle manufacturers, including Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Renault, Nissan, and Alfa Romeo, subjected to investigations and other similar actions by the authorities after defeat devices were discovered in their diesel vehicles.
A defeat device is made to detect vehicle testing so that when it does, it can lower emissions artificially, therefore hiding the real numbers. As a result, authorities are led to believe the vehicle is fuel-efficient and thus, environmentally friendly.
In reality, though, the vehicle is a pollutant. When it is taken out of the lab and driven on real roads, the vehicle shifts to its default settings. It emits extra high levels of nitrogen oxide, which means it releases air pollutants. NOx emissions are harmful to the environment and often have life-threatening effects on a person’s general health and well-being.
The Mercedes emissions scandal first broke a few years after the VW Dieselgate scam. In 2017, thousands upon thousands of Mercedes-Benz diesel vehicles were recalled about their NOx emissions. This recall focused primarily on Euro 5 and Euro 6 diesel engine standards. Around one million vehicles were recalled in Germany, while the rest of Europe saw approximately two million recalled.
In 2018, several US car owners joined together to act on their class-action lawsuit against Mercedes. By 2020, the first claims case against the German carmaker was brought to the UK courts. Legal firms are working on getting more potential claimants especially since millions of vehicles in the UK are affected by the defeat devices
Nitrogen oxide is one of the main reasons why the diesel emissions scandal continues to make a lot of noise seven years after it first bubbled up into the limelight. NOx is a group of gases that has NO or nitric oxide and NO2 or nitrogen dioxide as its primary components. These two gases are already harmful on their own but they become more dangerous when they react to form NOx.
Emissions of nitrogen oxide pose risks to the environment, especially since they are active catalysts for acid rain, smog, and ground-level ozone, all pollutants that make the air more toxic.
Too much exposure to NOx emissions can affect a person’s cognitive abilities, especially those who are already advanced in age. Emissions can also trigger anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
In terms of a person’s overall health, there is no shortage of impacts, including:
- Breathing issues
- Bronchitis, emphysema, and other respiratory problems
- Chronic headaches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Asphyxia or asphyxiation
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Spasm of the vocal cords or laryngospasm
- Premature death
Over the years, toxic air has become one of the primary causes of early deaths, with the numbers increasing by the day across the world. In 2013, Ella Kissi-Debrah died after an asthma attack and months of hospital and emergency room visits due to respiratory issues. Ella lived with her mum Rosamund in the vicinity of South Circular Road, which is a highly polluted area. After an inquest on her death, the coroner confirmed the nine-year-old was a victim of air pollution.
There are many cases in the world similar to that of Ella’s so authorities and governments are doing their best to come up with programs and campaigns.
Additionally, legal firms are also encouraging car owners of affected vehicles to bring a claim against their manufacturer. This ensures that carmakers are held responsible for their deceit and all the inconvenience they gave their customers.
Diesel emission claims
How do I make my diesel claim? The process can be long and stressful but you can work with a panel of emissions solicitors. First off, however, you have to verify if you are eligible to make a claim. ClaimExperts.co.uk can help you confirm your eligibility, so head on over to their website right away so you can start your diesel claim.