Friday, November 12, 2010

Institutional Negligence And Public Ignorance Is Responsible For This Potentially Deadly Mistake In Trinbago

Welding Automobile Front Ends and Rear Ends To "Make A Car" Is Dangerous To Occupants and The Public


A few weeks ago Trinidad and Tobago local TV6 ran a story about a single car automobile accident. The driver was speeding, hit a pole and the car split into two pieces. This is not an abnormal occurrence in this country. The cause is almost always attributed to speed. There is a small twist to this story.

In Trinidad and Tobago you can purchase the entire front or rear end of a vehicle and get it welded onto a damaged vehicle. Like a grocery store of "vehicle portions" these parts are displayed for purchase on large shelves. Used automobile parts dealers do a brisk trade in these parts. But here's the problem.

In most developed countries tampering with the structural integrity of a vehicle is illegal. The reason for that is safety. As a result, almost every, if not all automobile manufacturers, have adopted what is now considered an industry safety standard of designing automobile around what is known as a “unibody construction".

In layman’s terms the frame of every vehicle manufactured is built around a steel cage with no welds. The intent is to protect the occupants and ensure that the vehicle is not split into parts on impact. So why should we worry about that in Trinidad and Tobago?

First, we cannot ignore universally accepted automobile safety standards. It is an inherently dangerous practice that if continued to go undetected will endanger lives. Laws that allow this practice must be immediately amended to forbid this practice not only for the dealers but anyone who knowingly conspires to sell a vehicle in that condition.

This practice is certainly responsible for many deaths in this country. Unfortunately, there may not be one report that list it as a cause of death. It is much easier to find that "speed" was the cause. After all, dead men tell no tales.

Secondly, it means that whenever citizen’s purchase used vehicles they must check for structural integrity. Unscrupulous used car dealers will repair a vehicle in this manner and offer it for sale.

The used car buyer must be aware of this practice and physically check to ensure that there are no visible welds in the front or rear of the vehicle.

No used car should be purchased without hiring the services of a body repair expert. One way to easily identify a replaced front end is when the engine number is different from the number listed on the vehicle original manufacturer certificate.

Do not compromise your safety by hurriedly purchasing a vehicle because of the low price. Any vehicle that shows indication of repairs of that nature should be rejected, it's a literal death trap.

We all know the other problems with the Trinidad and Tobago Transportation system but this one is not as obvious. Speed is definitely a contributing factor in most of these accidents but a vehicle with structural integrity compromised aggravates the possibilities. It is itself an accident waiting to happen.

This practice must be stopped at a legislative level. In the meanwhile, if you purchased a used car, know of someone who did or intend to purchase let them know this. Only when our representatives recognize the severity of this problem can something be done about this it. Now, it's up to you.

Tell your politician, your friend or anyone else who knows a politician who can help. This practice needs to be investigated, researched and documented to determine the most appropriate course of action.

Just imagine how you would feel if one day the front end of an automobile comes hurtling towards you at 50MPH, too late. Not a pretty thought. Do something now. Let somebody know.

Pass the word on.

Tony Puckerin is a Independent Marketing Consultant based in Trinidad. If you are in business in Trinidad visit Guerilla Marketing Consulting and schedule a free marketing assessment of your business. Also if you are on Facebook you can get free dental care tips and advice from dental experts. Go to Trinbago #1 Dental Care Guide.