Perspectives: Field Notes

You Can’t Duck Responsibility for Safety

Delegating design work doesn’t get you off the hook.

By Dirk Willard, Contributing Editor

I was chatting on Facebook about engineers and our occasionally twisted sense of humor when I imagined the hallway at General Motors after the design review on the faulty ignition switch that has led to several fatalities. “How many soccer moms do you think we’ll kill, Bob?” “Oh, maybe a dozen — is that too many?” “Let's ask the corporate lawyer — he’s part of the design team. Don’t forget to ask the accountant. He’ll say an extra 10 cents a car is too much to spend.”

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