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by Brett Davis

Investigations have concluded that Mercedes-Benz CEO Dieter Zetsche can not be held responsible for an accident that led to the death of a 27-year-old test driver. The driver was killed in a car crash caused by a younger intern pulling out onto a high-speed test track.

Even though Zetsche wasn’t directly responsible for the accident, the parents of the engineer said that Mercedes, and as a result Zetsche, should not have allowed the young intern behind the wheel in the first place, especially as he had relatively little experience. Senior public prosecutor Alexander Retemeyer said in a Reuters report on Friday,

“There is an investigation. It is highly doubtful that the chief executive personally can be held responsible for this, however.”

Daimler has since said the company has not been notified of such investigations, and that if there was investigations, they should be directed at the group’s management board and not Zetsche personally. The spokesman also said,

“There is already a ruling from the district court in Papenburg in which the judge expressly found that Daimler could not be held at fault in any way for the accident.”

Daimler said in a statement,

“In legal proceedings against the perpetrator of the accident before the Papenburg District Court on July 12, both the judge and the public prosecutor explicitly stated that the company Daimler, and consequently also the Chairman of the Board of Management, were in no way to blame.

“In fact, the court found that the driver was solely to blame because he did not look straight ahead at the road in front of him for a distance of several kilometers. The initiation of preliminary investigations of the Board of Management is a pure formality. We assume that these proceedings will be discontinued.”

What do you think? Should car companies be accountable for the lives of test drivers? Let us know in the comments section below.




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