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Articles Tagged with defective car

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even Hills School Hillsdale campus from aboveA teenager died after being crushed by a defective car seat after making two agonizing phone calls to 911. Sixteen year old Kyle Plush was in his van, a Honda Odissey, on the parking lot of the Seven Hills School – Illsdale Campus in Madisonville, OH when the second-row seat accidentally tipped forward slowly crushing the young man to death. 46 people previously reported minor injuries for a similar issue and Honda issued a recall of this model last year to fix the problem.

“I probably don’t have much time left, so tell my mom that I love her if I die,”

As the seat was crushing him, Kyle picked up his cell phone and called 911 begging for help. He told the operator he was at “Seven Hills” but she couldn’t understand where it was. He made a second call and told the operator “I probably don’t have much time left, so tell my mom that I love her if I die,” he said. “I’m trapped inside my gold Honda Odyssey van. In the (inaudible) parking lot of Seven Hills Hillsdale. Send officers immediately. I’m almost dead.”

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GM logoAfter the scandal of the defective ignition-switch that lead to the death of at least 124 people, GM is again suspected of mishandling a recall related to defective headlights.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced this week in a report that they are now investigating a 2015 GM recall of  429,000 vehicles with a possible defective Headlamp Driver Modul (HDM). The 2015 recall occurred after customers complained that the HDM was not operating proprely and that the low beam headlamps and daytime running lamps were failing to illuminate. The following vehicles were recalled: model year (MY) 2005-2009 Buick LaCrosse, 2006-2007 Chevrolet Trailblazer/GMC Envoy/Buick Rainier, 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer EXT/GMC Envoy XL, 2006-2008 Isuzu Ascender/ Saab 9-7X, and 2007 Pontiac Grand Prix vehicles.

The NHTSA now suspects that the scope of the GM recall was too limited. Since the recall occurred the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) received 128 complaints related to issues with headlights of GM cars that were not included in the recall but built in the same year as the recalled models. Most vehicle owners complained that they simultaneously lost both headlights with no warning. The ODI also found out that vehicle owners whose cars were repaired after reporting that headlight failed to illuminate had the same component replaced as the component that was replaced in the recalled cars.

So far no crashes have been reported. In one of the reports the owner of a 2007 Chevrolet TrailBlazer said that both headlights failed as he was driving during a rainy night on a steep curvy highway. He explained that he was facing a truck in a curve and as he dimmed his headlights they both shut down and all he could hear was the horn of the truck trying to avoid his car. When he complained to GM, GM’s answer was:  ‘No recall. Your problem.’

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Clarence Ditlow, a very influential and effective activist who protected consumers from unsafe vehicles died from colon cancer on November 10. He was 72 years old.

Clarence Ditlow who started as a lawyer for Ralph Nader’s Public Interest Research Group in 1971 had been at the head of the Center for Auto Safety for the last 40 years.  A lawyer and an engineer, Ditlow dedicated his life to improve the safety of anyone driving or riding a car. A workaholic who received only a modest salary, he spent his life going after negligent automakers and complaisant regulators.

Tirelessly assembling evidence about the causes of car accidents and the injuries or deaths resulting from these crashes, he exposed safety defects in millions of motor vehicles. His work lead to massive safety recalls and saved an untold number of consumers from deadly accidents.  He was considered the “guardian angel” of American motorists.

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A defectively designed gear-shifting control in some previously recalled 2014 and 2015 Fiat Chrysler Jeep Cherokee models caused 266 crashes and 68 injuries according to a report that was recently published by the National Highway  Traffic Safety Administration.  The report doesn’t mention any deaths despite the fact that Star Treck actor Anton Yelchin was killed on June 19 after his 2015  Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled backward and  fatally pinned him against a wall. According to the report, rollaway crashes are prone to happen with these types of gear-shifting controls because they are confusing for the driver. Most reported cases involved drivers who believed they were in the Park  position and exited the car. Read more in the Claims Journal

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ignitionGM defective ignition switch and Takata defective airbags accounted for a large part of the recalls.According to the automakers, GM recalled about 27 million vehicles last year, Honda recalled about 8.9 million vehicles last year, Fiat Chrysler recalled about 8.8 million, Toyota recalled about six million and Ford recalled almost 4.9 million.Airbag defects led to one third of all the recalls in 2014. The previous record was of 30.81 million cars recalled in 2004. Manufacturers recalled 22 million vehicles in 2013 and 16 million each year in 2012 and 2011.

Also 7.7 million child safety seats were recalled in 2014, the second highest number since such statistics started to be collected in 1972. Read more in the New York Times

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Death, injury and warranty claims can serve as an early warning of defects or other problems in a car and manufacturers are required by law to submit this information to the government. For the last 11 years, Honda consistently under reported these claims and was fined $70 million for not doing so (see Honda Fined for Violations of Safety Law).Even though this penalty is the highest amount ever fined a car manufacturer by the federal regulators it still seems very modest in comparison to the revenue of the giant car manufacturers. The Obama administration wants to raise the maximum fine to $300 million but would that be enough?

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Impact%20on%20GM.jpgFor over a decade, GM knowingly kept 2.6 million defective cars on the road killing and injuring an untold numbers of road users. From the civil lawsuit brought by personal injury lawyer Lance Cooper who discovered that GM hid information about the defective ignition switch to the multiple recalls of 2014, Impact Magazine, the quarterly issue from the Center for Justice and Democracy focuses on General Motors’ product liability. The magazine looks at the history of the recalls as well as the bankruptcy shield, the issues with used and rented cars and also questions the NHTSA stand.
Download the complete issue of Impact here

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2005-Toyota-Sienna.jpgToyota announced a new car recall in the US yesterday because a defective lever system in some Sienna minivans can cause the vehicles to shift out of park mode “without the driver depressing the brake pedal” and resulting in a vehicle roll-away. 24 accidents related to the defective car have been reported to Toyota so far. The recall affects approximately 615,000 Sienna minivans from Model Years 2004-2005 and 2007-2009. This is the second time in a month that Toyota has issued a recall of its vehicles in the US market. Earlier this month, the car manufacturer issued a recall for more than 780,000 vehicles to address a defective suspension in its RAV4 and Lexus HS 250h models.

Nissan also announced yesterday that it was recalling nearly a million defective cars worldwide because a defective accelerator sensor could cause the car to stall. No accidents have been reported so far according to the manufacturer. The recall affects Infiniti M, Serena, X-Trail, Lafesta and Fuga models produced in Japan between 2004 and 2013.