My wife was twice rear-ended by older vehicles with poor brakes.
One of the two strikes was a crash severe enough to collapse two-thirds of the trunk of her Cadillac Seville.
Being from Europe, where yearly vehicle inspections are mandatory (in most countries), I cannot understand why Americans do not take that aspect of automotive safety seriously.
In Texas, driving drunk is considered driving with a deadly weapon.
I believe that driving a vehicle that cannot pass a serious yearly inspection can be like driving with a deadly weapon, too, and perpetrators of such negligence should be punished accordingly, particularly when injuries or deaths occur.
Aside from punishment, a more effective solution would be prevention. Forced prevention.
Education will not coerce negligent people into fixing up their cars. It just won't work.
I suggest yearly inspections for vehicles 3 years and older.