It doesn’t take much to turn a safe vehicle into a dangerous machine. While general neglect, poor maintenance and faulty service procedures can take their toll on the mechanical systems of cars and trucks, improper engineering design or production processes on the part of auto manufacturers can put a vehicle at a disadvantage almost from the get-go. As consumers, we all assume that the products we buy, especially those that we trust our lives to and that of our families, will be designed and built to the highest possible standards. Safety recalls represent the flip side of the argument.
Here in the Baltimore area, as with Annapolis, Gaithersburg, Rockville and The District, tens of thousands of drivers get behind the wheel of vehicles every day in the belief that those cars, trucks and motorcycles are safe and sound. When a traffic accident occurs as a result of a mechanical defect, the victims would be wise to consider speaking to a qualified personal injury attorney about the possibility of a products liability lawsuit.
As Maryland personal injury lawyers, I and my colleagues understand how an assumption of safety can be rocked by a dangerous oversight on the part of a manufacturer. While some recalls are voluntary, others are ordered by the Government in the interest of public safety. If injuries or traffic fatalities are caused as a result of a possible vehicle defect, the call for action is usually swift.
This topic came to mind following an article describing the recall of almost 120,000 Dodge and Chrysler models just the other day. According to news articles, Chrysler has announced a recall campaign covering the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 Sedan, which may have some kind of braking and stability control issues. Being personal injury attorneys, we know that more than a few people have been injured or killed as a result of faulty vehicle design, poor assembly procedures or bad maintenance practices. Whatever the reason, it is never acceptable for an innocent person to be killed or maimed as a result of a product defect.
Based on news reports, this latest Chrysler recall stems from problems associated with the vehicles’
antilock brake system (ABS) and electronic stability control (ESC). Chrysler has reportedly advised the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the problem, which has grown from an initial
recall affecting nearly 10,000 police-spec Dodge Charger models to include retail models as well.
According to news articles, the automaker pointed to a power distribution module as the source of the trouble on the police cars. That module was apparently prone to overheating, which resulted in failure of the electronic controls. Although Chrysler reportedly believed the control module problem was confined to the non-consumer version of the Charger, the company has apparently changed its thinking and has expanded the recall to include vehicles sold to the public.
Citing an “increasing trend” of failures in their consumer models, Chrysler also stated that it did not know of any accidents, collisions or personal injuries that may have been caused by the failure of the modules. Describing the recall as a voluntary one, Chrysler still had a legal responsibility to notify the NHTSA of its plan for the recall campaign.
Chrysler Recalls 119,000 Charger and 300 Sedans, NYTimes.com, May 7, 2012
Dodge Charger Police Cars Recalled for Antilock Brake, Stability Control and Headight Flaws, NYTimes.com, February 17, 2012