August 29, 2010

US steps up scrutiny into stalling Corolla cars

The U.S. government has “beefed up its investigation into Toyota's Corolla and Matrix vehicles because of a possible engine defect that might can cause them to stall.” (Y. Kageyama, AP Business, 8/24).

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it was “raising its preliminary evaluation to a more serious scrutiny called an engineering analysis to look into the problems that could cause the engine to stall, not start or to shift gear harshly.” This investigation includes the 2005, 2006, and 2007 model years of the Corolla and Corolla Matrix.

Toyota is battling to patch up its reputation after recalling some 10 million vehicles around the world since October last year for a range of defects in floor mats, gas pedals and braking software.

Toyota is continuing to feel the repercussions to its reputation after a recall of over 10 million vehicles worldwide for a variety of problems with braking software, gas pedals, and floor mats. Yet, another problem with a top-selling model like the Corolla, “would be a further embarrassment for the world's top automaker, which long prided itself on impeccable quality controls.”

At this time, it is unclear whether a recall will be necessary. As a car and truck accident lawyer in Chicago, I once again urge Toyota consumers to ensure their vehicles are safe to drive.

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August 25, 2010

GM recalls 250K vehicles; seat belts may not latch

General Motors is recalling “nearly 250,000 crossover vehicles worldwide to inspect second-row seat belts that could be damaged and not latch.” (Ken Thomas, AP Washington, 8/17) The recall included the 2009 to 2010 models of the Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, Saturn Outlook, and the Buick Enclave.

The issue prompting the recall regards potential damage to the seat belt buckle when the seat back is returned to an upright position. This damage could make the buckle appear to be securely latched when it is not. The automaker says it is not aware of the seatbelts performing improperly in a crash test.

As a personal injury attorney, I am a huge advocate for seat belt usage. If your vehicle is on the recall list, please ensure that your seatbelts are functioning properly as soon as possible.

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August 25, 2010

Honda recalling nearly 400K vehicles

Honda Motor Co. announced recently that is “is recalling the popular Accord and Civic passenger cars from the 2003 model year to address problems with an ignition switch that could allow the key to be removed without the transmission being shifted into park, increasing the risk of a vehicle rolling away.” (Ken Thomas, AP, 8/9).

The recall involves just less than 400,000 vehicles, and is expected to begin in late September. Honda owners can contact the company at (800) 999-1009 with questions, and, as always, the national traffic highway and safety administration website is a valuable source for information.

As a car and truck accident attorney, I encourage all Honda drivers to ensure their vehicles are safe before driving.

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August 4, 2010

Nissan Recalling Cubes for Fuel Leak

After a rear-impact crash test that revealed some startling news, Nissan is recalling over 45,000 2009-10 Cubes. (C. Jensen, NY Times, 7/30). The crash test, which was conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, discovered some gasoline leakage upon rear impact, which is a violation of a federal safety standard.

Nissan released a statement asserting that it was unaware of the problem, and that when similar tests were conducted during development of the Cube, gas leaking was not an issue. However, Nissan plans to install “a special protector” on the recalled vehicles, which it says should remedy the problem.

Although automakers perform their own tests to ensure their vehicles comply with federal safety regulations, the N.H.T.S.A. also performs spot tests on vehicles to double check. The issue with the Nissan Cube was discovered during a spot test.

As a car and truck accident lawyer in Chicago, I am thankful that the N.H.T.S.A caught this problem in its spot tests. As always, I encourage all car owners to keep up to date on recalls and to remedy any issues as quickly as possible. The N.H.T.S.A website is a good resource for information pertaining to recalls.

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August 4, 2010

New Toyota Recall Involves About 400,000 Vehicles

In its latest recall, Toyota said last week “Thursday that it was recalling almost 373,000 of its 2000-4 Avalon sedans because of a steering problem that could cause a crash.” (C.Jensen, NY Times, 7/29). On top of the Avalon recall, Toyota is additionally recalling nearly 40,000 Lexus LX470 SUV’s for another steering defect.

The recall follows at least six complaints in the United States of a steering problem. Toyota received reports of at least three minor accidents, and, fortunately, no major injuries. According to documents Toyota filed with the National Highway and Safety Administration, the automaker has been investigating the steering problem since October 2007. Toyota, however, insists that it was not until early this year they confirmed the steering problem was severe enough to require a recall.

Unfortunately for Toyota, but perhaps not surprising, “the length and timing of Toyota’s handling of the Avalon defect may interest federal safety officials. In May the safety agency began an investigation into whether Toyota improperly delayed a 2005 recall of almost one million 1989-1998 model Toyota trucks.” As federal regulations “require automakers to notify the safety agency within five days of learning of a defect,” Toyota may face repercussions.

As a car and truck accident attorney, I am not once again disappointed in Toyota’s apparent lackadaisical attitude to defects in its products. I encourage Toyota owners to act quickly to have their vehicles fixed.

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