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What Is the Vauxhall Diesel Emission Scandal and Who Can Claim?

British carmaker Vauxhall is just one of the many carmakers that are allegedly involved in the diesel emissions scandal that started with Volkswagen and Dieselgate. Stellantis, its parent company, along with its sister brand Opel, are also implicated in what is known as the biggest scam the global automobile industry has ever had to deal with.

As expected, Vauxhall has denied the allegations. Nevertheless, authorities haven’t stopped hounding the carmaker with recalls and fines. Law firms representing affected car owners have been actively pursuing claims cases as well.

What Vauxhall allegedly did

KBA, the German Federal Motor Transport Authority, discovered in October 2018 that a significant number of Vauxhall vehicles were allegedly fitted with illegal defeat devices that are used to manipulate emissions tests. The KBA ordered Vauxhall to recall all affected vehicles.

The defeat devices are intended to limit emissions during regulatory testing. They can sense when a vehicle is in testing and once this happens, the devices suppress the vehicle’s emissions to within the legal limits mandated by the World Health Organization (WHO). While toxic emissions are reduced, vehicle performance is affected. What regulators will see is an environmentally safe and emissions-compliant vehicle while testing is ongoing.

Once testing is over and the vehicle is driven outside laboratory conditions, it reverts to pumping out massive and illegal levels of nitrogen oxides. The driver has no idea that their vehicle is already releasing toxic air. 

The regulatory tests are conducted to determine if a vehicle meets performance and environmental standards, and are safe to drive on real roads. If the allegations are proven to be true, then by installing the defeat devices, Vauxhall misled their customers into believing that the vehicles deliver optimum performance without endangering the environment and impacting human health. 

It is believed that Vauxhall sold over one million affected vehicles in the United Kingdom alone. 

The Vauxhall emissions scam is one of the many offshoots of the Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal that shocked the global automobile industry in September 2015. The Volkswagen Group was the first carmaker found to have violated emissions regulations by using defeat devices in VW and Audi vehicles in the US. Over the years, many other carmakers have been accused of installing the illegal devices in their diesel vehicles. 

What is NOx and how dangerous is it?

Nitrogen oxide or NOx is a group of highly reactive gases that has nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO) as main components. It reacts with other gases or elements to form smog and acid rain, and it is also responsible for producing ground-level ozone, a pollutant that can destroy vegetation.

Public Health England describes nitrogen oxide as a significant factor in air pollution, particularly in urban areas. It has been linked to thousands of premature deaths year after year in the UK and other parts of the world. 

Children and adults who are exposed to NOx emissions suffer from various health impacts. It triggers depression and anxiety even for those who haven’t had any mental health-related issues in the past.

Recent studies have also shown that NOx affects a person’s cognitive skills. Once this happens, they can become vulnerable to dementia, specifically Alzheimer’s disease.

As if these impacts weren’t enough, exposure to NOx emissions may also lead to:

  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis and other respiratory illnesses
  • Lung problems, such as pulmonary edema or fluid build-up in the lungs
  • Corroded teeth
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Nausea and vomiting

Serious and life-threatening impacts include:

  • COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder
  • Laryngospasm or vocal cords spasm
  • Asphyxiation
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Certain cancers

As mentioned earlier, exposure to NOx emissions (and air pollution in general) can lead to premature death. In the UK, the first case of early death due to toxic air exposure happened in 2013. Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah was a young schoolgirl when she suddenly died after a severe asthma attack. Her mother Rosamund shared that Ella had been a regular visitor in hospitals and emergency rooms for several months prior to her death. 

Ella and her mother lived in the South Circular Road area, one of London’s most polluted places. The young girl walked to school every day, so she was exposed to high levels of NOx emissions. An inquest was ordered to determine the real cause of her death and in December 2020, the coroner official named air pollution as the culprit.

Vauxhall, Volkswagen, and the other carmakers implicated in the diesel emissions scandal allegedly lied about the emission levels of their defeat device-equipped vehicles. Therefore, they contributed to Ella’s death – and to thousands of others’. They should be held responsible for their illegal actions. Authorities and law firms urge affected car owners to bring their carmakers to court via a diesel claim.

What would my diesel claim be about?

A diesel claim is legal action against carmakers that violated emissions standards by using dangerous defeat devices. If your claim is successful, you will be compensated, the amount of which will depend on the circumstances of your case.

However, since the Vauxhall models affected are those that were registered between the years 2009 and 2020, not all vehicles are eligible for a claim. To find out if you can receive compensation, visit ClaimExperts.co.uk and get all the information you need before starting your Vauxhall emissions claim.

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