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RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Ethics Q... Would you lie to the State to save some money in order to survive?

Asked by RealEyesRealizeRealLies (30951points) February 3rd, 2012

A friend just learned a trick to get over on the system. It was suggested by her auto mechanic. And it worked.

Her auto tags are due. Car would not pass inspection because of EG light on. And technically, her brake rotors were just barely too thin to pass safety. She hardly has enough cash to get the renewal tags and keep minimum insurance. She is a good driver with no accidents. She cannot pay a couple hundred dollars for brakes and diagnosing EG light.

Brake pads are good and car drives excellent. Mechanic states there really isn’t an issue with safety. With reasonable driving, the rotors should last another few thousand miles… so he says. Mechanic is a long time trusted source.

But the repair shop cannot technically pass the vehicle. And so owner cannot get legal tags. She fears getting tickets, which add to the problem of saving for brake repairs in the Spring. Repair shop will not fix unless payment in full can be made.

She must get to work. She needs her car. She’s barely surviving. She works hard and is doing her best to raise a teenage daughter by herself. She is a good mother. Father died. No drugs or alcohol in the family.

She does not like lying. But… she asked mechanic if anything can be done to keep her car on the road.

Mechanic said this: “I’m not recommending you do this. And you didn’t hear this from me. And I will deny saying it… But… I’ve heard other customers claim that the DMV will wave any necessity for Safety or Emissions inspection if the owner claims the car is currently out of state, and being driven by child away at school”.

So… She told DMV car was in Florida (out of state) being driven by daughter away at school. The DMV said “No Problem… Here are your new tags”.

She didn’t need to show any proof of statement. She got her tags and is gratefully, gently driving the car.

Is this ethical? Does she have the right to do what it takes to survive… even if it means lying to the state?

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10 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

I don’t see a problem (wink), as long as she gets the brakes fixed, which has nothing to do with tags.

wundayatta's avatar

I hope she doesn’t get in an accident caused by something that should have failed her inspection. I especially hope she doesn’t get into an accident with me, rear-ending me like so many others have already, only this time it’s not because she’s not paying attention; it’s because her brakes don’t work properly.

Would I lie like that if I needed the money? Probably. How else am I going to get to work. But it could have bad consequences, so if she does get into an accident, and god forbid, kills someone, I hope she’ll find some way to make up for it.

Coloma's avatar

In the grand scheme of things a person has to do what they can to get by, short of heinous dishonesty. I see this as a situational ethics thing. Born out of necessity rather than true dishonesty of sleazy intention. Although she is risking being found out and sooo, if the longterm consequences of this duplicitious area are discovered she might be liable for some sort of other fines or penalties for being dishonest. It’s a judgment call and a risk, but maybe one that seems to be the only present moment option.

I have a very tiny leak in my cars AC, it holds a charge from about May to October and needs about 14 oz. of freon (sp?) every spring. My mechanic has given me 2 hits of freon this past 2 summers because I have not wanted to spend over $600 on the repair. I certainly would disclose the slow leak if I sold the car, but, I don’t feel guilty nor am I grossly polluting the environment. These economic times call for some occasional minor adjustments. However, as @wundayatta said, this situation has the potential for more serious consequences.

flutherother's avatar

I have seen some dangerous wrecks being driven about the southern states of the US that would never be allowed on the roads of the UK.

GladysMensch's avatar

@flutherother Go to Mexico if you really want to see some scary vehicles , or even worse, go to India.

YARNLADY's avatar

No, I don’t believe in lying.

john65pennington's avatar

A lie is a lie is a lie. Just suppose she is involved in an auto accident. Then the real truth will come out and she just might be arrested.

I do not believe in circumventing the system. It will catch you at one time or another.

HungryGuy's avatar

This is a hard Q to answer. While the particulars of this precise situation are such that lying is probably not the wisest choice here. I can’t say that it is automatically wrong to lie to the authorities under all circumstances. I.e., lying to the Nazis about the Jewish family living in your attic, for example…

Nullo's avatar

Better to find an alternative. Maybe borrow the money.

lazydaisy's avatar

In a heart beat

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