It seems as if product recalls on cars are becoming more and more common. It is hard to say whether it is because cars are not being made as well as they used to be, or if the manufacturers are trying to protect themselves and their consumers by issuing the recalls more readily. The latest big recall hasn't even officially happened yet, but it has been announced through the media.
In February 2013, Honda is scheduled to announce to the recall of over 800,000 vehicles in the U.S. and about 70,000 in other countries. In October 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it was going to begin investigating Honda Pilots and Odysseys that were manufactured in 2003 and 2004. The investigation was prompted by the NHTSA receiving over 40 complaints regarding the vehicles. Drivers stated that the vehicles rolled away after being parked and having the keys removed. Owners of 16 of them said the only reason they stopped rolling was because they hit a stationary object such as a tree, wall, or brick mailbox. At least three vehicle owners claimed to have been injured trying to stop the rolling vehicles. Two months after the investigation was opened, Honda announced that they were going to recall 2003-2004 Honda Pilots and Odysseys, and 2003-2006 Acura MDXs.
What is causing these vehicles to roll away by themselves? It is not a brake failure as one might expect. Ignitions are designed so that the driver cannot remove the key unless the vehicle is in park. However, on the recalled models, the ignition part that prohibits the key from being removed can wear down or be damaged, allowing the key to be removed without the car being put into park. If the emergency brake has not been applied, the vehicle is free to roll away.
Building a perfect product out of literally thousands of parts is probably impossible. But that does not mean that auto manufacturers should not be held accountable for injuries that occur because of a product defect. This accountability does not just provide an opportunity to victims to be compensated for their injuries caused by the defective product. It also offers additional production to all of us who drive cars. Being liable to the consumer is one more incentive to car companies to provide the safest product available through careful manufacturing and constant testing of the separate components and the cars themselves.
If you are injured in a car accident, and you think it may have been caused by a defective product, it is important to contact a Kentucky car accident attorney as soon as possible. Your car, or the car that may have caused the accident, should be preserved as evidence so that it can be tested for defects. An experienced attorney will know how to make sure the car is not totaled out or otherwise made unavailable for testing. And if you receive a receive a recall notice on a vehicle, make sure you follow the instruction and have any repairs made to maintain your safety and that of your passengers and fellow drivers on the road.
U.S. Department of Transportation Report on Honda Investigation; October 2, 2012
Honda's latest recall: 800,000 SUVs and minivans with faulty ignition switches; Forbes.com; Jim Gorzelany; December 12, 2012