Thursday, October 19, 2017

Ford recalls 1.3 million F-Series trucks.

NBC Nightly News (10/18, story 11, 0:20, Holt, 16.61M) reported on its nightly broadcast that Ford has issued a recall for more than one million F-Series trucks, including model year 2015 through 2017 F-150s and 2017 super-duty trucks, because their doors may not be able to open or close and may appear to be closed despite not being latched. Reuters (10/18) reports the recall covers 1.34 million vehicles and is expected to cost the company $267 million. Reuters reports the current recall is a separate issue from the 5 million vehicles Ford recalled in 2016 due to door latch-related problems. Ford said it is not aware of any accidents or injuries caused by the defect.

        The Detroit (MI) Free Press (10/18, 1.07M) quotes a press release from Ford explaining the problem, “In affected vehicles, a frozen door latch or a bent or kinked actuation cable may result in a door that will not open or will not close condition. Should a customer be able to open and close the door with these conditions, the door may appear closed, but the latch may not fully engage the door striker with the potential that the door could open while driving, increasing the risk of injury.” 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Center for Auto Safety calls on Ford to recall Explorers.

ABC World News Tonight (10/17, story 11, 0:15, Muir, 14.63M) reported that the Center for Auto Safety is calling on Ford to recall more than a million Explorers due to possible carbon monoxide exhaust leaks. Explorers belonging to police departments already have been taken off the road. However, Ford suggests that the civilian models of the vehicle are safe.
        The CBS Evening News (10/17, story 7, 2:10, Mason, 11.17M) reported that instead of recalling the vehicles, Ford has offered a “peace of mind” safety repair. CBS added that since last summer, the NHTSA has been investigating more than 2,700 complaints about exhaust leaking into the cabins of Explorers. The complaints include claims of three accidents and 41 injuries. While NHTSA says it has found no actual evidence of carbon monoxide poisoning, one Louisiana police officer said doctors diagnosed her with carbon monoxide poisoning after she crashed her Explorer.

        NBC Nightly News (10/17, story 12, 1:55, Holt, 16.61M) reported that Executive Director for the Center for Auto Safety Jason Levine warned, “What we don’t want to do is to wait for a body count before we start taking action.” 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

GM reports test fleet of robot cars was in six minor crashes last month.

Reuters (10/4) reports that General Motors’ self-driving unit, Cruise Automation, “has more than doubled the size of its test fleet of robot cars in California during the past three months.” However, as the test fleet has grown, it has also reported more crashes. In September, GM’s robot cars were involved in six minor crashes in California. Rebecca Mark, spokeswoman for GM Cruise, said, “All our incidents this year were caused by the other vehicle.” None of the accidents resulted in injuries or serious damage. In a statement, GM said, “While we look forward to the day when autonomous vehicles are commonplace, the streets we drive on today are not so simple, and we will continue to learn how humans drive and improve 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Fiat Chrysler issues recall on 710,000 SUVs over brake issue.

Reuters (10/3) reports that “Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s ... U.S. arm said on Tuesday it is recalling nearly 710,000 sport utility vehicles (SUVs) to check shields that protect brake boosters for proper installation,” which were previously involved in a 2014 recall. The company said Tuesday it was aware of one accident that may be related to the recall of the 2011-2014 Dodge Durangos and 2011-2014 Jeep Grand Cherokees. The company “received 10,053 warranty claims from the vehicles involved in the recall.” The company also said the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration inquired in February about the vehicles repaired in the 2014 recall.

        The AP (10/3) reports that brake shields were improperly installed that “could let water leak in and limit braking ability.” The water can also cause corrosion or enter the booster and freeze. Vehicle drivers may notice a dashboard warning light prior to any problems. The recall is anticipated to begin on Nov. 7. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Ford Recalls F-750 Heavy Trucks for Steering Problems

The Automotive Fleet (9/27, 62K) reports that “Ford Motor Co. is recalling 77 2015-model year Ford F-650 and F-750 trucks in the U.S. so dealers can resolve a steering system problem.” The problem involves a risk that the steering system’s tie rod becomes loose and disconnects, which could remove the driver’s ability to steer. The safety recall reference code is 17S30. Roadshow (9/27, 2.35M) also reports. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

“American Vision for Safer Transportation through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies Act” “AVSTART Act”

The Senate Commerce Committee is working on crafting a draft proposed bill on Automated Vehicles in the Senate.  The AV START Act represents a positive step forward toward the eventual integration of automated driving systems into the vehicle fleet. However, it is critically important to public safety and protection of rights guaranteed under the constitution that there be a robust savings clause that clearly protects the safety of the American public and rights guaranteed to American citizens by the seventh (7th) Amendment to the Constitution, To protect public safety and constitutional rights the following language should be added to the bill: 

No preemption of common law or statutory causes of action for civil relief or criminal conduct
(A) In general
Nothing in this chapter, nor any amendment made by the “American Vision for Safer Transportation through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies Act” or the “AV START Act” , nor any standard, rule, requirement, standard of performance, risk evaluation, or scientific assessment implemented pursuant to this chapter, shall be construed to preempt, displace, or supplant any State or Federal common law rights or any State or Federal statute creating a remedy for civil relief, including those for civil damage, or a penalty for a criminal conduct.
(B) Clarification of no preemption
Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, nothing in this chapter, nor any amendments made by the “American Vision for Safer Transportation through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies Act” or the “AV START Act” shall preempt or preclude any cause of action for personal injury, wrongful death, property damage, or other injury based on negligence, strict liability, products liability, failure to warn, or any other legal theory of liability under any State law, maritime law, or Federal common law or statutory theory.

This language should be non-controversial as it changes nothing in terms of longstanding constitutional rights, common law and statutory protections. General Motors has also stated publically, in an interview with the Detroit News:  “There are 100 years of legal precedent, we don’t see any reason that should be changed for Autonomous vehicles. We stand behind our product. Just like we stand behind our products we put on the road today we still stand behind our autonomous vehicles we put on the road today”

This language should also be familiar as it was the same language used in the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act

Monday, September 25, 2017

Fiat Chrysler recalls diesel ram pickup trucks over fire risk.

Road and Track (9/24, Atiyeh, 887K) reports that “Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is recalling 443,712 Ram pickup trucks in the United States for faulty water pumps that can potentially catch fire, the company said Tuesday.” Ram 2500 and 3500 trucks and chassis-cab 3500, 4500, and 5500s from 2013 through 2017 were built with faulty water-pump bearings. The trucks under the recall are powered with a 6.7 liter V-8 diesel engine. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) filing is not yet available.