Washington Law Review




"The chariots shall rage in the streets" was a prediction announced twenty-five centuries ago. The degree of fulfillment of this vision must certainly have been beyond the wildest expectations of its maker, for every year, the raging chariots consume tens of thousands of lives and billions of dollars of property in the United States alone. With automobiles as well as chariots, the law has long imposed civil liability as a consequence for negligent operation of a vehicle which results in death or injury. However, liability of a manufacturer for errors in performance of his duties is a recent phenomenon, and as the automobile age nears the conclusion of its seventh decade, is by no means settled in its extent. While it has been conclusively settled that a manufacturer may incur liability for faulty construction of a motor vehicle, courts have been peculiarly reluctant to impose similar liability for damage sustained as a consequence of errors in design, which, obviously, may as surely result in injury as may negligent construction.

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