Jackass star Ryan Dunn's death was a great shock to his fans, families and friends. Our next question is this: how would Porsche fit into this scene?
On June 20, Dunn drove the 2007 Porsche 911 GT3 at the speed of 132 mph when the car shot through about 40 yards of trees and exploded into flames, near Pottstown Pike in Pennsylvania. He was on a road where speed limit is 55 mph.
According to the police, Dunn's blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.196, which is said to result in almost 30% likelihood for an accident.
People should not drink and drive, at a speed three times the limit.
But, can his death be blamed on something else? If so, Porsche may be a candidate.
Back in 2002, the New York state Court of Appeals ruled that a drunk driver's widow can sue the maker of her husband's car for defective design. While drunken driving was against the law, that does not negate the duty of the car manufacturer to design and build safe cars, the court ruled.
A drunk driver, Silhadi Alami, died in 1995 when his Volkswagen Jetta, going 35 miles per hour, hit a utility pole near the Saw Mill River Parkway in Yonkers, New York. His blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit. His wife, Shauna Alami, sued Volkswagen, complaining that the car was defectively designed and manufactured and had defects that rendered it structurally hazardous, not merchantable, and not fit for the purpose intended.
According to the case brief provided by Lawnix, the court ruled that:
One injured in an automobile accident has an action against the vehicle's manufacturer if his injuries were the result of the manufacturer's negligent defective design of the automobile. Automobile manufacturers should recognize that their cars will be involved in accidents and should manufacture their cars to be safe if an accident should occur. A manufacturer is liable for latent design defects that cause a 'second collision' or otherwise increase injury. These types of problems should not incur strict liability, but negligence can be established.
In one case reported by the New York Times, Manning v. Brown (1997), the Court of Appeals ruled that a woman who went for a joy ride could not sue for injuries, even if the driver had been negligent. In the Alami case, the court said, the injuries might not have been a direct result of the illegal action, but rather of defects in the car.
In another case, Humphrey v. State of New York (1983), the court ruled that there were several causes for a car accident, including both the driver's intoxication and the state's failure to install the proper road signs. The state was held responsible for a percentage of the damage according to the New York Times.
In the above cases, the one responsible for the accident seems to be clear, or unclear enough for argument.
The question here is, who is responsible for the accident? Some can claim that Porsche should not make its car to speed that much. The Porsche 911 GT3, the car Dunn drove during his fatal crash on Monday, was capable of reaching speeds around 190 miles per hour. Porsche is known to be the car James Dean loved, and eventually drove to death - Dean was driving Porsche 550 Spyder when his fatal accident occurred, killing the American film hero on September 30, 1955.
What's your verdict? Should Porsche be in any way responsible for Dunn's death? Or was his blood alcohol level too high that other factors don't stand a chance?
Dunn's BAC, reportedly 0.196, is almost 2.5 times the legal limit of 0.08.
In 1998, alcohol was a factor in 39% of all traffic fatalities, and speed in 30%. And needless to say, alcohol involvement and speeding often go hand-in-hand. In the same year, 43% of drivers with a 0.10 BAC or higher involved in fatal crashes were speeding, compared with 14% of sober drivers in fatal crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
One lesson is clear here - being a daredevil in driving is not for everyone. So stay sober, and keep the speed limit. There is no way you can express a more dramatic death act than Ryan Dunn.
Still, can Porsche get some credit for being the very vehicle that buried the Jackass star?