Articles Posted in Auto Product Liability

The U.S. Department of Transportation is putting automakers on notice that the federal government is serious about holding manufacturers accountable if they don’t recall defective vehicles in a timely manner. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told reporters that he wants Congress to hike the maximum fine for recalcitrant automakers from $35 million to $300 million.

Florida Auto DefectsHis announcement comes in the wake of the General Motors recall of 2.6 million vehicles with an ignition switch problem that may be linked to the deaths of over a dozen people. The auto giant has been accused of allegedly knowing about the problem for a decade but doing nothing to take steps to recall the affected vehicles until this year. The problem may still not have come to light had it not been for evidence presented in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of a Georgia woman.

The maximum fine for untimely recalls was doubled in 2012 – from $17.5 million to $35 million. Foxx emphasized that the proposed hike in the maximum fine was meant to send auto makers the message that non-compliance would result in “more than a rounding error” and that the department “wants to make sure there’s an ability to make it count and ensure there’s enough of an affect across the industry.”
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Several U.S. senators are backing legislation on the Hill that would make it illegal for rental companies to lease or sell vehicles to consumers that are under manufacturer recall. Surprisingly, while it is illegal for automobile dealerships to sell vehicles that are under manufacturer recall, a loophole in the law currently allows rental agencies to rent or sell potentially dangerous recalled vehicles.

The personal injury liability attorneys at Farah & Farah in Jacksonville have learned that the just introduced legislation is called the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2013. The bill was named for two sisters who died in a fiery and preventable wreck while driving a rental vehicle that had been recalled. The car they rented in 2004 had been recalled because a leak could cause a fire in the engine compartment.

The rental car company received the vehicle recall notice a full month before the tragedy, but rented the un-repaired car to the sisters nonetheless – with tragic results.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York), who supports the bill, told Associated Press (AP), “Rental car companies are rolling the dice with passengers’ lives each and every time they rent a car that’s under recall. The practice has already proved tragic.”
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The auto defect accident attorneys in Florida at Farah & Farah realize that sometimes the road to justice for your family in a product liability wrongful death case can be a long and winding one. That’s why it’s important that you choose an experienced and tenacious law firm like Farah & Farah when you are seeking to hold liable parties responsible for their actions.

In 1997, a 17-year-old boy was killed in Collier County when his mother lost control of the 1996 Ford Explorer she was driving. He was thrown from the vehicle and killed when the Explorer rolled over.
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The new General Motors, which has emerged from bankruptcy, says it shouldn’t be responsible for the old company’s warranty problems, Consumer Affairs reports. Consumers have experienced suspension problems in Chevrolets from the 2007 to 2008 model year, but the carmaker filed a petition to court to dismiss a class action lawsuit filed over 400,000 vehicles.

A woman from Blakely, Pennsylvania, filed the lawsuit June 29 against General Motors arguing that her Impala was defective and the rear spindle rods caused the tires to wear out after 6,000 miles. The lawsuit points out that police vehicles, which are commonly the Chevrolet Impala, were repaired by GM.
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The consumer group KidsAndCars.org is calling for all models of vehicles to install internal trunk releases after the Friday, June 17 death of a two-year-old and a four-year-old in New Carlisle, Indiana. The boys were trapped in the hot trunk of a 2000 Chevy Malibu unable to get out.

In 2009, two Arkansas children also died in the trunk of a 2000 Malibu. Back then, KidsndCars.org asked General Motors to issue a recall of 2000 and 2001 models to install an internal a trunk release. The organization singled out GM after 11 children died in hot trunks in 1998, but GM did nothing. WNDU-TV reports that over the last 19 years, 44 American youngsters have died in car trunk. That number is now at 46.
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According to a report by The Palm Beach Post, an elderly woman rear-ended a Florida Power and light truck around 7 p.m. recently and may have had her left arm severed above the elbow due to airbag deployment. The collision occurred in the 100 block of SW 18th Street. There is no further word in this article whether or not the driver of the Mercury Grand Marquis was wearing a seat belt. The woman was taken to Delray Medical Center and there is no word on her condition.

When an airbag deploys, it is supposed to keep a person from hitting the steering wheel, windshield, or dashboard of a vehicle. In order to be effective, the airbag deploys at speeds of up to 200 mph.
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Every other day a youngster under the age of four is killed in a non-traffic accident that involves an automobile. Whether a parent backs out of the driveway and runs over their toddler or a child’s head is caught in an electric auto window, Consumer Reports says that under the Cameron Gulbransen Kids and Cars Safety Act (s.1948), lawmakers were supposed to set deadlines which would require automakers to fix the blind spots behind SUVs with backup cameras and require an auto-reverse function on power car windows.

Now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has done an about face. Consumer Reports notes that in a notice issued on Monday, February 28, the NHTSA dropped the proposed new rulemaking, saying that it would largely prevent finger pinch injuries and would likely not prevent any deaths or serious injuries. The agency points out that many newer high-price vehicles already have an auto-reverse window feature.
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According to a report in Consumer Affairs, Toyota has just announced it is recalling about 2.17 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles in the United States as a follow-up to the 2009 recall that allegedly addressed the same problematic issue of accelerator pedals becoming stuck under floor mats.

A 10-month federal investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has just determined that Toyota’s electronic system was not to blame for unintended acceleration that has taken many lives and led to the recall of 19.2 million Toyotas worldwide and 13.7 in the U.S. That leaves investigators looking again at floor mats as the probable cause of trapped gas pedals.
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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened a probe into the 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid SUV after 32 consumers complained that the vehicle stalled while going approximately 40 mph. As many as 44,000 Highlander Hybrids could potentially be subject to a recall. Reuters reports that a preliminary investigation is just the first step in the process to determine if the car presents a safety hazard. So far, no injuries are attributed to the stalling problem.

Toyota got a pass earlier this month when the Department of Transportation said that Toyota vehicles did not appear to have any problems with the electronic throttle control system, which many blamed for unintended acceleration in some models. Toyota has recalled more than 18 million vehicles since 2009. Nine million cars were recalled to fix floor mats and stuck gas pedals, and Toyota has paid $48 million in federal fines while hundreds of lawsuits are waiting to be heard for wrongful death and auto accidents blamed on unintended acceleration.
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Ever since September 2009, when Toyota Motors recalled 11 million vehicles, speculation has been that the cars electronic system was the reason behind the unintended acceleration that led to many deaths and auto crashes. Slipping floor mats, a defective braking system, and a faulty accelerator gas pedal didn’t seem to answer all of the outstanding questions as to why experienced drivers were not able to control different models of Toyotas, from the Prius to the Lexus. Now, a report issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, conducted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), has found that there are no electronic flaws capable of leading to the large throttle opening that caused the dangerous high-speed unintended accelerating Toyotas.

The report was issued on Tuesday, February 8, and is based on a $1.5 million study by NASA, reports The Los Angeles Times. In the study, engineers analyzed 280,000 lines of software code to conclude there were no malfunctions in the electronics that led to runaway Toyotas. The study’s conclusion was that Toyota’s problems with unintended acceleration are likely mechanical not electrical.
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