The Dangers of Vehicle Manufacturing Errors
Submitted by the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, in Morgantown, WV
Before vehicles can be manufactured and sold, they are subjected to many tests and calculations. A few of the many criteria determined by these are safety, performance, and environmental impact. Usually, it is correct to assume that vehicles are as safe as possible for the design by the time they come to the market.
However, this is not always true. Sometimes vehicle designers’ and manufacturers’ oversights can cause vehicles to be dangerous to the consumer which may cause an accident or collision. It is important to know what to do in these situations so that you and your family can be safe and the problem be made right.
Examples of Recent Vehicle Defect Investigations and Recalls
If the oversight in the safety of a vehicle is determined to be severe after investigation, the vehicle will be recalled. One type of vehicle that is currently under investigation, but not yet recalled is the Ford Explorer from years 2011-2017.
According to Auto Week, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expanding a probe into 1.33 million Ford Explorers from the 2011-17 model years over mounting reports of exhaust odors inside the cabin.
The announcement of an Engineering Analysis (EA) comes on the heels of a large number of reports of carbon monoxide exposure by owners, with more than 2,700 complaints now registered for the issue since the automaker and the NHTSA became aware of it.
The issue of exhaust fume leakage into the cabin may be linked to three crashes and 41 injuries, the NHTSA noted.
Customer complaints report that the vehicle is letting exhaust into the vehicle during operation. This can quickly cause dangerous driving or riding conditions as vehicle exhaust contains toxic fumes including carbon monoxide.
The complaints from the customers include reports that the vehicle’s passengers were experiencing lightheadedness, nausea, and headaches while the vehicle was in operation. Although not conclusive, these all can be symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The tests being conducted do not show a significant amount of carbon monoxide being released into the vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not decided if it should recall these vehicles.
The 2017 Honda CR-Vs have been recalled due to a faulty fuel supply line. This line may come detached during operation resulting in a stalled engine. This alone increases the risk of a crash dramatically, but the potential for leaked fuel also increases the risk of fire which is particularly deadly in a vehicle which has many flammable fluids.
Evidenced by the vehicle’s recall, the company has recognized that the vehicle is not safe for operation, and has implemented a plan to correct this mistake. In this case, Honda will begin to notify those who own 2017 CR-Vs of the problem, and will urge them to take their vehicle to their Honda dealership to have the fuel line replaced. Due to the company’s error, the repair will be free of charge to the customer.
Safety recalls are a common occurrence. If you would like to stay informed of these, a quick online search will list and explain the latest ones. Also, watch your mail for a letter informing you of a recall on your vehicle.
Owners may not always know their recalled vehicle still needs to be repaired. NHTSA's new search tool, Safercar.gov, lets you enter a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to quickly learn if a specific vehicle has not been repaired as part of a safety recall in the last 15 years.
What You Can Do If Your Vehicle Has a Safety Issue
Your vehicle should be designed to do everything possible to keep you safe while traveling as well as in a crash. Of course, it has been made clear that the criteria and inspections for safety are not foolproof. Always be on the lookout for potential hazards in your vehicle. Use all your senses as you drive. Pay attention to how your vehicle looks, sounds, smells, and feels.
Inspect your vehicle before you drive including the condition of safety features such as windshields, lights, mirrors, and tires. Listen as you drive for odd sounds your vehicle makes. A new noise means that the vehicle is different in some way, and possibly an unsafe way.
Do not ignore smells such as gasoline, oil, or a “hot” smell. These can indicate a leak or another potential hazard. Pay attention to your vehicle’s feeling different as you drive. The brakes may feel different, or the ride may feel rough. These can be indications of an unsafe vehicle.
There are several steps that might need to be taken if you believe your vehicle has a safety issue. Each type of concern will be a little different, but these general steps should be a good place to start.
In a case like the Ford Explorer, health is the primary concern. If you feel that your vehicle’s operation might be having a negative effect on your health, visit a doctor. Many problems you may encounter with your vehicle will not make this necessary, but if you are unsure, check with a medical professional to be safe.
If the vehicle is causing a safety concern, do not continue to drive the vehicle as is. Either drive another vehicle or get the unsafe vehicle repaired. If the vehicle is truly unsafe, then it is not fit to drive. This may put a strain on your budget, but it is much better than the possible consequences, such as a crash, injury, or death.
Contact the NHTSA
Investigations that lead to potential recalls begin usually because of customer complaints or accidents. If your vehicle is malfunctioning or needs repairs because of a condition that you believe is from the factory, report your complaint to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
If enough complaints like yours are reported, an investigation will be launched, and if the vehicle is recalled, could result in free repairs and, much more importantly, many lives saved or injuries prevented.
Contact an Attorney
If you believe that proper action has not been taken regarding your complaint or you have another issue regarding the safety of the vehicle, contact an attorney to discuss your options.
Although tests and inspections are done to ensure the safety of each vehicle before it is sold, oversights are all too common. Watch closely for recalls on your vehicles and make the necessary repairs before driving.
Always be on the lookout for potential safety issues that your vehicle may have. The safety of you and your family depends on it.
Information provided by the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, a Morgantown, West Virginia Personal Injury Law Firm
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