Advances in automotive electronics over the past several decades have truly made a significant impact in the safety of cars, trucks and even motorcycles. From the introduction of anti-lock braking systems (ABS) in the 1980s to front and side-impact airbag systems and vehicle stability control systems of today, it’s no exaggeration to say that passenger cars and light trucks offer greater safety now than back in the heyday of the American automobile industry.
And while car accidents and commercial trucking wrecks still take place on our highways and surface streets, the carnage from these sometimes tragic traffic collisions has been reduced to a great extent by the advanced electronics found in automobiles. As Maryland auto accident attorneys and personal injury lawyers, I and my colleagues know that a car, or any product for that matter, is only as good as its design and manufacture allow it to be. Product defects still occur these days and that’s where trouble can begin.
Relying on a modern automobile to protect you and your family is only part of the equation. Safe driving is another key part of staying alive and safe in the dense, sometimes high-speed traffic environments of cities like Baltimore and Washington, D.C. When a crash does happen, fewer injuries and hopefully no fatalities will result thanks to advanced auto safety devices. This, however, will only be the case when everything in the vehicle is in tip-top condition. Whether through regular maintenance or initial design, every critical vehicle safety system must be working properly in order to save lives and avert injuries in roadway accidents.
Unfortunately, with complexity in design comes opportunity for failure or malfunction. Auto safety recalls are the result of instances when one or more of a car’s critical control systems indicate a potential or actual problem that in itself could cause the injury or death of an innocent victim. Just today, news of another worldwide recall of several hundred thousand Honda-produced passenger vehicles hit the front pages. As any owner of an affected vehicle should understand, having a safety recall on one’s vehicle is certainly cause for concern, if not a call to your local dealership for more information.
According to the news, Honda Motor Company has recalled 250,000 of its vehicles for a braking-related problem tied to the electronics that handles the stability control system. Based on initial information, which did not indicate the particular model years of the affected vehicles, the problem can manifest itself by causing the brakes to engage without the driver’s foot on the brake pedal.
Although no accidents or injuries have apparently taken place because of the problem, Honda is initiating a recalling of more than 183,000 Acura RL, Acura MDX and Pilot models in the United States, some of which could be owned and driven by Maryland residents. In its home market of Japan, Honda announced a recall of another 56,000 vehicles, including the Odyssey minivan, Legend, StepWgn and Elysion.
According to news articles, some drivers have already complained about the problem, including more than a dozen in Japan and one owner here in the U.S. Honda explained that the problem is caused by improper wiring and the electronics in these cars’ vehicle stability control systems.
For those unfamiliar with automotive systems, a stability control system (SCS) functions by linking together several other vehicle control and monitoring systems (such as throttle, steering and braking) to help the driver maintain control of the vehicle in an emergency situation. Part of the operation of SCS is to automatically apply of one or more of the vehicle’s wheel brakes to help counteract vehicle yaw (the pivoting motion of a vehicle about its center of gravity), which would hopefully prevent a spinout from occurring during an emergency steering maneuver.
Honda Recalls 250,000 Vehicles for Braking Problem, Time.com, March 14, 2013
Honda recalls 250,000 vehicles for braking problem, Freep.com, March 14, 2013