Diesel vehicles used to be the popular option by the majority of car owners because they were believed to have lower carbon dioxide emissions. While they also emitted nitrogen oxide (NOx), drivers were confident that their vehicles nonetheless adhered to European regulation standards.
All these changed after September 2015, when US authorities revealed that several diesel vehicles from the Volkswagen Group cheated on emissions tests using illegal defeat devices. Hundreds of thousands of Audi and Volkswagen diesel vehicles were allegedly fitted with a device that manipulated the results of regulatory tests. The vehicles’ NOx emissions appeared normal during testing, but once they were on real roads, emissions levels exceeded legal limits.
A defeat device is engineered to curb a vehicle’s emission levels when it’s being subjected to a regulatory test. This makes the vehicle it’s installed in appear to adhere to government-mandated emission limits. Once the vehicle is driven on real-world roads however, the defeat device causes it to switch back to its default settings, and it once again spews massively high volumes of NOx emissions, a dangerous group of gases that causes adverse impacts on health and the environment.
It wasn’t only Volkswagen that used the defeat devices, many other car manufacturers were also accused of cheating on emissions tests. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Renault, and Renault are only some of the carmakers that possibly broke emissions regulations. UK-based Vauxhall has also been implicated in the scandal. Vauxhall emissions claim cases are still relatively new compared to VW, Mercedes, and BMW but authorities already actively pursuing the carmaker.
This incident became known as the Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal.
At present, authorities continue to investigate as more carmakers are added to the list. Therefore, it is not surprising that an Emissions Analytics-conducted study showed that 22% of the approximately 34 million vehicles being driven on UK roads emit excessive levels of toxic air.
According to the research, every year, around 17,900 tonnes of nitrogen oxides are emitted on UK roads. This amount is considered excess emissions and violates European regulatory limits. Of the over 17,000 tonnes, about 89% are produced by Euro 5 and Euro 6 diesel vehicles manufactured from the years 2009 to 2014.
If the excess emissions are converted to vehicle volume, there would be around 1.4 million more dirty air-emitting vehicles on UK roads. If emission levels were kept within the limits, Euro 5 and Euro 6 vehicles would release only approximately 9,500 tonnes.
Nitrogen oxide emissions can be life-threatening, which is why governments across Europe have set a no-emissions goal while encouraging car owners to switch to electric vehicles. Meanwhile, car owners affected by the diesel emissions scandal have been talking to legal firms and groups committed to helping them get compensation from their carmakers.
Nitrogen oxide is highly reactive and contains nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which already has adverse health impacts on its own. NOx also has nitric oxide as one of its main components, which, when inhaled, can cause eye and skin irritation, throat and nose irritation, and fluid build-up in the lungs.
NOx produces acid rain and smog and contributes to the formation of ground-level ozone, which can weaken vegetation.
Exposure to nitrogen oxide can also result in increased incidents of depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.
Additionally, NOx can weaken your cognitive abilities. Once this happens, you’ll become more vulnerable to dementia, especially Alzheimer’s disease.
When you are constantly exposed to nitrogen oxide, you’ll experience a barrage of health impacts. Sometimes, you won’t know what hit you; you’ll just feel weak and too ill. A young girl from the UK’s South Circular Road area was in and out of the hospital for several months for various respiratory-related conditions. It wasn’t until after her sudden death in 2013 that the actual cause of her health problems was uncovered: air pollution.
Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah’s death created such an impact that an inquest was requested. In December 2020, the coroner confirmed that her premature death was caused by regular exposure to air pollution.
A specific list of the health impacts of exposure to NOx includes the following:
- Bronchitis, emphysema, and other respiratory conditions
- Pulmonary edema (causing shortness of breath)
- Chronic lung function reduction
- Nausea and vomiting
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Premature death
Even if you do all that you can to avoid getting exposed to nitrogen oxides, all your sacrifices will be meaningless if carmakers continue to violate emissions standards and refuse to stop cheating for profit. All the programmes governments have lined up will be rendered useless if carmakers refuse to admit and change their shortcomings.
This is why authorities are confident in saying that carmakers should be held responsible for their illegal actions. Defeat devices affect not only vehicle performance and NOx emissions but also the health and safety of the car owners and everyone around them. Diesel emissions scandal carmakers should be brought to court through a diesel claim.
Should I start my diesel claim right away?
While there is no guarantee that you will win and receive compensation, your chances are high if you start now and work with a team of emissions experts. Join a group order litigation if you want greater chances of success.
First off, however, you should visit ClaimExperts.co.uk to verify your eligibility to file a diesel claim. They have all the information you need. Once you’re verified, you can start your claim.