Over the years, the American consumer has come to expect a fairly high standard of quality in the products he or she buys. Part and parcel with this is the understanding — and in many cases explicit promises — that certain products will be safe at the time of purchase and continue to remain safe for the reasonable life of that product. This is important, because when something large like a home furnace system or automobile malfunctions, there is always a possibility of bodily injury or death.
This is why, over the years, government agencies and other consumer watchdog groups have helped to influence the safety of all kinds of products. From low-tech, yet ubiquitous hand tools to slightly more complex home appliances, all the way up to car, trucks and commercial jet aircraft. As mentioned above, each one of us has come to expect a certain level of safety when operating, riding or even being near potentially dangerous machinery.
In the area of automotive safety, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is one government agency that is heard from on a fairly regular basis, especially in regard to vehicle safety recalls and other transportation safety issues. Car and truck recalls are sometimes issued voluntarily by auto makers themselves and sometimes ordered by the federal government in a effort to protect the public from injury or death due to a faulty automotive component or part.
As Maryland personal injury attorneys representing the victims of traffic collisions and other personal injury accidents here and over in the District, we are constantly aware of numerous vehicle recalls involving potentially dangerous conditions that may exist or result from continued vehicle operation. As many people already know, car, truck and motorcycle accidents can sometimes occur as a direct result of the failure of a safety-related part or component.
Just recently, Honda Motor Company issued a recall of several of its vehicle models that may suffer from a problem with the vehicles’ fuel systems. According to news reports, owners of Honda’s Pilot and Acura MDX sport utility vehicles may be at risk due to a potential fire hazard with these trucks.
This latest recall comes just a couple days after Honda had announced another recall affecting almost 50,000 of its ’08 and ’09 Honda Odyssey minivans; the powered liftgates on the high-line models may have faulty support struts that could result in bodily injury. The models affected are the Odyssey EX-L and Touring trim levels. According to reports, Honda was reacting to complaints reaching the NHTSA last year that the malfunctioning liftgates were injured two people.
The fuel leak problem, reportedly affecting almost 9,000 ‘12 Acura MDX and Honda Pilot models, involves the vent shut float (VSF) valve case located in the vehicle fuel tank. According to information from the Honda and the NHTSA, in some of these models the VSF apparently doesn’t meet Honda’s engineering specifications. Because of this apparent manufacturing defect, the fuel could leak gasoline, which could greatly increase the chance of fire-related injuries to the vehicle’s driver, its occupants or anyone nearby.
Based on the recall information provided by the company, Honda will reportedly provide a free inspection of the vehicle’s VSF and, if necessary, replace the entire fuel tank assembly at no cost to the owner. According to news articles, the recall should start around March 13. If one is concerned about the safety of their particular vehicle, Honda’s customer service department will likely be able to address any specific concerns.
Honda Recalls Pilot, MDX SUVs for Fire Risk, WSJ.com, February 24, 2012
Faulty Rear Liftgates Prompt Recall of 46,000 Honda Odyssey Minivans, NYTimes.com, February 22, 2012