If an SUV manufacturer knows or has reason to know that SUVs’ greater size as compared to non-SUV automobiles is likely to enhance the harm to non-SUV drivers and passengers when traffic accidents between the two types of vehicles occur, does the SUV manufacturer have an ethical obligation not to produce the even larger SUV?
I would have to say that I do not believe that the manufacture has an ethical obligation to not produce large SUVs. I do however believe that the drivers of these vehicles have a moral obligation not to drive to endanger the lives of other motorist.
There are large trucks (transport trucks) that travel everyday and are involved to accidents also. Would we ask these trucks to stop traveling and bringing our food, clothing, mail, and gas?
The ethical obligation lies in making sure that the SUVs that are manufactured are of the best quality and that things such as “tip factor”, tire durability, gas tank positioning and explosion susceptibility are addressed before these vehicles are allowed to be driven. In the case of Ford Motors, in 2000 they looked at the mounting issues surrounding their SUVs. They subsequently began to look for ways to aid drivers so that accidents would not happen.
In the end I believe that the moral obligation is that of the driver and ethically the companies need to make sure that the product is safe for the driver and ultimately all drivers.
McCuen, Barbara. May 23, 2000. Are SUVs a Menace to Other Cars on the Road? http://speakout.com/activism/issue_briefs/1257b-1.html Retrieved on December 20, 2008.