Tuesday, February 27, 2018

New recall includes 229,000 newer Dodge Ram trucks.

MLive (MI) (2/26, 732K) reports that Fiat Chrysler Automotive issued a recall for 229,000 model year 2017 and 2018 Dodge Ram 1500, 2500, and 3500 series pickups, because of a “risk the vehicles could shift out of park without the ignition engaged or a foot on the brake.” In December 2017, FCA issued a recall for 1.8 million other Ram pickup trucks. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warns that “if the brake pedal is pushed in for too long while running and in park, a pin could become stuck in the open position and increase the risk of a rollaway.” The recall is scheduled to start March 30, with dealers making repairs at no cost to customers. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Robot Cars and Crash Avoidance Technologies

Atlee Hall attorney Jaime Jackson spoke about Crash Avoidance Technologies and Robot Cars to a national group of paralegals gathered at a conference in San Antonio, Texas. The presentation focused on how new technologies are affecting the transportation industry, products liability and how we practice law. Questions discussed included if the robot technology is driving the car, can the human occupant still be liable, or is the manufacturer responsible when the technology fails and a crash happens? Mr. Jackson covered with the group various crash avoidance technologies such as Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warnings, Lane Keep Assist and Blind Spot Assist. Robot cars and highly automated vehicles were also discussed, with GM promising to roll out its ride services fully autonomous vehicle without a steering wheel or gas pedals in 2019. Waymo was just awarded permission in Arizona to operate its ride sharing services vehicle without gas pedals and steering wheels for public transportation on Arizona roadways. The automotive landscape and the way human beings are transported is rapidly changing with a fundamental paradigm shift in car ownership, ride sharing services and robot cars. Mr. Jackson who has litigated automotive products liability cases for twenty years has spent the last several years working on crash avoidance technologies and robot cars preparing for the future of transportation.

Recall issued on 1.5 million Ram pickups.

Consumer Reports (2/22, Olsen, 3.59M) reports Ram is recalling about 1.5 million pickup trucks in the US, “mostly” heavy-duty models, because of “a problem with the gear shifter, which is mounted on the steering column.” The recall notice recommends that drivers “always” use parking brakes. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Fiat Chrysler sending recall notices to 160,000 Pacifica owners.

WRC-TV Washington (2/20, Royster, 376K) reports Fiat Chrysler is sending more than 160,000 recall notices to Pacifica owners this week. Certain minivans from the 2017 model year “are being recalled because their engines can stall, even while driving down the road.” Dealers will “begin offering a free software fix next week.” Over 50 Pacifica minivan owners “filed a complaint to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.” The Company “is working closely with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and this recall is being conducted in accordance with regulation.” 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Toyota announces separate recalls for Toyota, Lexus cars.

Consumer Reports (2/15, 3.59M) reports Toyota announced two separate recalls on Thursday, recalling 11,800 model year 2018 Camrys and 9,000 model year 2015-2018 Lexus RC F, 2016-2018 Lexus GS F, and 2018 Lexus LC 500 cars. CR reports the Camry models are being recalled because “the fuel pipes and the fuel hoses in the engine compartment were not properly connected during assembly,” which could cause a fuel leak and increase the chance of a fire. The Lexus vehicles are being recalled because “the cover of a high-pressure fuel pump could become damaged over time and lead to a fuel leak and an increased risk of fire.” 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Ford, Mazda expand warnings for trucks with Takata airbag inflators.

Reuters (2/12, Shepardson) reports Ford Motor Co. and Mazda Motor Corps. expanded earlier warnings to truck owners because of potentially defective Takata Corp airbag inflators. Ford warned an additional 33,000 owners of older pickup trucks in North America to stop driving them until potentially defective Takata Corp air bag inflators are repaired. Meanwhile, Mazda Motor Corp warned about 1,800 2006 Mazda B-Series trucks that were built by Ford. It had issued a warning for 160 trucks in January. Earlier, Ford said it expanded an earlier warning because of “additional testing.” In January, Ford told 2,900 owners of model year 2006 Ford Ranger trucks to stop driving immediately after a second death was linked to inflators built on the same day. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said the vehicles pose “an immediate risk to safety.” Ford and Mazda said they have replacement air bag inflators now available and will tow vehicles to a dealership for repairs as well as provide loaner vehicles free of charge.

        The AP (2/12, Krisher) quotes Mazda spokeswoman Elizabeth Weigandt, saying test results revealed the trucks had inflators that ruptured or recorded high internal pressure readings. The AP says NHTSA said pickups not covered by the do-not-drive warning are being “scrutinized to see if they should get the same treatment.” 

Friday, February 2, 2018

Takata airbag death toll reaches 22.

MLive (MI) (2/1, 912K) reports that the death toll of Takata’s airbag inflator recall has reached 22 following a crash in Malaysia on New Year’s Day. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s timeline will continue to announce the growing recall. The NHTSA said, “The recalls are phased by the location of the vehicles and their age. Generally, the vehicles in the highest danger zones and that are the oldest, are in the first priority group.” The NHTSA also said that Takata is facing a December 31, 2019 deadline to show that the “desiccated PSAN inflators (inflators that contain a drying agent) are safe.” MLive states that “nearly 10 months later on Sept. 20, 2020, the NHTSA says this is the last deadline for manufacturers to have the needed parts available for the repairs.”