A recent study from MIT shows that Volkswagen’s use of cheating software in nearly 500,000 of its American diesel vehicles will directly contribute to at least 60 deaths in the United States.
The study came after the car company admitted to installing cheating devices in 11 million of its diesel vehicles worldwide. These cheating devices were designed to trick regulators into believing that the vehicles were compliant with emissions laws, when in reality, they were producing pollution that was up to forty times the allowable amount.
Based on that amount of excess pollution and the number of affected vehicles that were sold in America, there will be significant consequences in terms of public health. As a result of this pollution, researchers expect that 60 people in the United States will die 10 to 20 years prematurely.
Additionally, if Volkswagen were to avoid conducting a proper recall, another 140 early deaths would be expected to take place.
Beyond early deaths, the emissions from Volkswagen are also expected to contribute to a predicted 31 cases of chronic bronchitis and 34 hospital stays relating to respiratory and cardiac conditions.
Overall, the Volkswagen scandal is expected to generate a total of $450 million in health expenses in the United States. If the company completes a total vehicle recall by the end of 2016, an additional $840 million can be saved.
Lead author of the paper and professor at MIT Steven Barrett said that the paper will help regulators obtain a better estimate of the costs associated with the company’s actions.
“Barret stated, “It seemed to be an important issue in which we could bring to bear impartial information to help quantify the human implications of the Volkswagen emissions issue. The main motivation is to inform the public and inform the developing regulatory situation.”
The group made three calculations. The first was an estimate of pollution that had already been produced by offending Volkswagen vehicles.
The second was an estimate of what would happen if Volkswagen completes a total vehicle recall by the end of next year.
The last calculation showed what would happen if Volkswagen never conducts a recall, instead leaving the polluting vehicles on the road.
Based on the findings, the car company wasn’t just lying to customers, it was also killing people.