Why 1 Million Flood Damaged Cars From Harvey Are Ticking Time Bombs



Watch To Learn How One Million Flood Damaged Cars From Hurricane Harvey Threaten Public Safety

Auto insurance companies are parking thousands of flood damaged cars in makeshift lots across the Texas coast awaiting what the insurance carriers call “further assessment”.  Based on my experience as a vehicle safety lawyer there’s nothing to assess.  Every single vehicle totaled for water damage should be crushed so no one can ever again get behind the wheel.

The complex safety sensors that control air bags, seat belt restraint systems, and other crashworthiness devices are permanently damaged and beyond repair.

The Texas World Speedway outside College Station currently holds a sea of 33,000 flood damaged vehicles awaiting processing.  Some will reportedly head to auctions. Texas insurance regulators should issue an emergency edict ordering the destruction of every flood damaged vehicle.

When a reporter from the The Eagle showed up at the gate to learn more about the fate of the flood damaged vehicles, they were turned away.  It’s no wonder.  The auto insurance industry does not want prying eyes to see the scale of the ticking time bomb they may put back on the nation’s highways.

If you prefer to read what I have to say in the video, here’s a transcript:

Hello, I’m Todd Tracy with the Tracy Law Firm in Dallas, Texas and I’m here in my crash lab, and I want to talk to you today about something that doesn’t involve an accident but what it does involve is the tragedy that we’ve had here in Texas, and Louisiana, Florida, and Georgia with all the Hurricanes.

What will happen here is whenever you have vehicles that get flooded, and I’m talking about a vehicle who gets water inside the vehicle above the rocker panel for days and days, and days. That vehicle will never be the same from a safety standpoint. Why is that? You’ve got to remember, that most of the sensors inside a vehicle are right at the level where the flood waters are going to be coming in and once those sensors get wet and once they dry out, it’s sort of like your cellphone.

Take a cellphone and drop it in a bucket of water and see if it ever works again, but guess what? Your cell phone is not a safety device like the sensors are. The problem that we’re getting ready to see here is that the insurance companies are not going to pay these poor victims of the fair market value for their vehicle.

In Texas, for example, we do not have what is known as diminution in value. Once your vehicle has been flooded, it’s worthless but they’re just going to give you pennies-on-the-dollar, and you know what the insurance company’s going to do then if they do pay out a total car loss? They’re going to go resell that vehicle somewhere else.

What needs to happen here is that the state agencies that control the insurance companies, they need to order the insurance companies to total every single vehicle that has been flooded. They didn’t need to paint those vehicles and crush those vehicles. Do not reissue these vehicles having titles that are called salvage titles.

Take the vehicles an crush them because these vehicles are a death trap. They are a time bomb waiting to explode because guess what? The safety systems will never be the same.

Not only that, but the systems in general will never be the same. Imagine your vehicle has seats that have electrical seats but all the wiring has been flooded. Imagine your vehicle that has the heating systems inside them, they’re never going to be the same. Imagine what happens here when all of the mold begins to grow and they may do a great job of cleaning the exterior panels, but what about the mold growing that you can’t see? And then you begin breathing that in and then you have health problems years and years later because you’re driving around in a vehicle that looks fine but it’s a time bomb beneath it.

These folks have already suffered horrible tragedies. There’s been loss of life, they’ve lost their personal belongings, they’ve lost their homes, they will never be able to go back there. They don’t need to lose their cars as well. Restore dignities, people, and give them the fair market value for these vehicles by totaling their vehicles and put them on the road to recovery.


5 Responses

  1. I believe I have a flood vehicle from a past flood/huricane. It’s rusted from top to bottom and I am slowly loosing sensors. I often wonder what will happen if we are in the smallest of wrecks and with our medical bills and our low income we can’t afford payments on anything else.

    1. Elaine the airbag sensors are one of the most critical safety functions on your vehicle. They are very susceptible to water damage. Our research in my crash lab indicates they usually fail because of water damage. If you know a dealer, you could ask them to run a scan test to see if the sensors are working properly.

  2. Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thank you, However I am going through difficulties with your RSS.
    I don’t know the reason why I can’t join it. Is there anybody else getting the same RSS issues?

    Anyone who knows the answer can you kindly respond?

  3. Why dose our State and/or Federal government agencies not keep a watch dog eye on Insurance Companies and allow them to get away with such fraud? Its all about the money,( bonuses, campaign contributions, etc.). Let me turn a blind eye as to what is really going on as long as you (the insurance company) continue to support my re-election fund, or I can get a large bonus at the end of the year. GREED!!! Its going to kill this country if we do not put it under control.

  4. There are “NO PARTS” on these cars that can feasibly be reused. Crush them as soon as they are picked-up/turned-in. All metal parts will rust, if not from the outside than from the inside where you can not see, epically if they have been summarized in salt water. The only thing that can possibly be used are the plastic parts, which is not feasible. Even the windshields and rear glass has wire connections that will corrode.

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