As consumers we all expect the products we buy to work as advertised and to be safe for us and our families. When it comes to cars, minivans, sport utility vehicles and other light trucks and passenger vehicles, admittedly the complexity of these products makes safety a much more involved effort, however for the prices that automakers charge for many new motor vehicles, buyer should expect that the quality of safety-related compounds is more than up-to-snuff.
In months past we have heard about numerous safety-related recalls, both from the manufacturers themselves and from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in Washington, D.C. These recalls have involved products from Honda, General Motor and Toyota, to name a few. Most recently, Toyota has announced a new campaign that could affect drivers in Maryland as well as over in the District.
Now, as Baltimore personal injury lawyers, I and my colleagues keep an eye out for these kinds of safety issues, since any one of them could result in a car, truck or motorcycle crash. Whether a roadway accident involves a single vehicle, multiple cars, or a passenger car and a large commercial truck, the lives of the driver and passengers may be compromised depending on the type of collision and the circumstances surrounding the wreck.
Potentially life-threatening defects, such as faulty steering components, braking systems, seatbelt mechanisms or airbag systems may not be obvious to the user of any particular vehicle, but their existence can prove fatal under the wrong conditions. This is why auto safety recalls have been going on for decades. Being hurt or killed in a traffic accident resulting from the negligence of another driver is terrible enough, but losing a loved one to a product-related defect that could have been prevented is also devastating, and for many accident victims, unforgiveable.
Just yesterday, Toyota announced yet another safety recall, this one involving the steering system on its popular Prius, Corolla and other hybrid models. According to news reports, the problem affects 1.5 million vehicles in Japan and another 670,000 models sold in the United States. Affected vehicles, according to news reports, include the model years from 2000 through 2009.
In addition to the more than 2 million vehicles worldwide that may have a steering-related issue, Toyota also stated that another half-million of those and other models may have also been built using a defective water pump. For those cars sold in the U.S., Toyota said the affected model years spanned from 2003 to 2011. The company also told the public that only 10,000 vehicles were affected by just the water pump recall.
It wasn’t but a month or so earlier that Toyota announced the largest auto recall in the company’s history, with an amazing 7+ million models identified as having some kind of significant defect; a third of those vehicles were bought by customers in the United States. That particular recall was the largest in more than 15 for the entire automobile industry.
One may suspect that since Toyota is arguably one of the best-selling car makers in the world that any recall would represent significant numbers of affected vehicles. All the more difficult, however, for a company that has prided itself on quality and customer satisfaction for decades. It’s interesting to note that Toyota, alongside Honda Motor Company, has become one of the most recalled car manufacturers in the U.S. Especially since the company’s current president had gone to great efforts several years ago to tout his company’s return to making high-quality cars and trucks.
Toyota recalls 2.8 million vehicles worldwide, MSN.com, November 14, 2012