Monday, April 10, 2017

Hyundai, Kia recall 1.4 million vehicles over manufacturing errors in engine.


The AP (4/7, Krisher) reports Hyundai and Kia announced the recall of “1.4 million cars and SUVs in the U.S., Canada and South Korea because the engines can fail and stall, increasing the risk of a crash.” Documents posted by NHTSA Friday describe debris left over from manufacturing obstructing the flow of oil into the rod bearings, raising the local temperature to the point where the bearings start to break down, causing engine knocking that gets worse as speed increases. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Tesla crash raises questions about legal liability.


USA Today (4/3, Cassidy, 5.28M) reports that a collision last week involving a Tesla Model X in Autopilot mode “opens the door to questions in the emerging and still-murky legal realm of automated and driver-assisted vehicles.” The article notes that according to the NHTSA and Society of Automotive Engineers, there are six levels of driving automation. According to University of South Carolina Law Professor Bryant Walker Smith, “Anything that’s below level three, it’s clearly a human that’s supposed to be doing part of the driving.” Arizona DOT Director for Policy Kevin Biesty “said more of the driving regulations ... could shift from driver to car, and therefore from state to federal government.” 

Monday, April 3, 2017

One-quarter of vehicles have been recalled but not fixed.


The Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette (4/3, Sabatini, 493K) reports Carfax said the number of cars that have been recalled but remain unfixed increased 34 percent in the last year to 63 million. The Post-Gazette reports the figure accounts for one in every four vehicles, an increase of the “typical average” of one out of every five recalls. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said, “Automakers are finding and sending us recalls at a rate we haven’t seen before,” and the agency “sympathizes with frustrated owners” who are sometimes not able to bring a car in for repairs due to a parts shortage. 

Ford recalls 53,000 trucks over roll-away risk.

The AP (4/1) reports on Ford’s recall of 53,000 F-250 trucks from the 2017 model year “because they can roll away even when they are parked due to a manufacturing error.” Reuters (4/1) also reports.
        USA Today (4/2, 5.28M) reports in continuing coverage that Ford is recalling “52,000 F-250 trucks over concerns the vehicles could move while in park” due to “a damaged park rod actuating plate.”
        ABC World News Tonight (4/2, story 13, 0:20, Llamas, 14.63M) briefly mentioned the recall during its nightly broadcast, warning owners to “use the break at all times when shifting into park.”

        Money (4/2, 3.92M) also provides coverage. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Uber suspends autonomous vehicle tests after test vehicle involved in Arizona crash.

Uber announced Saturday it is suspending its autonomous vehicle testing in Arizona after one of its Volvo XC90s in self-driving mode was involved in an accident in Tempe on Friday. The announcement received wide national attention, with two network broadcasts, several print dailies, wires, and local outlets providing coverage. Although no one was seriously injured and there were no customers in the Volvo, the incident raises bigger questions about the integration of autonomous vehicles on public roads.
        ABC World News Tonight (3/25, story 12, 0:20, Llamas, 14.63M) broadcast “the test SUV” ended up “on its side” after another “car hit it after failing to yield to the vehicle.” The CBS Weekend News (3/25, story 7, 0:15, Ninan) broadcast the car being operated by a human “sideswiped the automated car after an illegal left turn.” Reuters (3/25, Cherelus) reports there were two vehicle “safety” drivers in the front seats of the Volvo, the Uber “standard requirement” in all its autonomous vehicle tests.
        The New York Times (3/25, Isaac, Subscription Publication, 13.9M) reports Uber spokesperson Chelsea Kohler said “We are continuing to look into this incident and can confirm we had no back-seat passengers in the vehicle.” In the meantime, “she said Uber had also suspended testing in Pittsburgh and San Francisco for the day” on Saturday, “and possibly longer.” The Times points out that Friday’s incident “comes at a difficult time for Uber,” which has jumped from regulatory show-downs to crisis management over the past few months – its dispute with state regulators over California testing, the Waymo lawsuit, Uber’s Greyball program, the video of CEO Travis Kalanick arguing with a driver, and sexual harassment allegations from former employees.
        The Washington Post (3/25, Overly, 11.43M) reports “the accident once again raises questions about the safety of autonomous driving technology and how it will interact with other drivers on the road.” In spite of the fact that “automobile and technology companies alike are dumping billions of dollars into the technology with the idea that one day our cars will no longer need human pilots,” Friday’s accident shows “that future is still far off.” The regulatory environment is also unstable, but from NHTSA to Congress to state legislatures around the country the “push and pull between freewheeling innovation and regulatory oversight that many new technologies endure” is unfolding. Part of that discussion involves the “debate about public tolerance for injuries and deaths as a result of self-driving cars.”

        The Wall Street Journal (3/25, Bensinger, Subscription Publication, 6.37M) puts the accident in context of Uber’s wider strategy, the race against companies like Waymo, which has logged more test hours on its self-driving cars than any other company, to develop reliably autonomous vehicles. Uber depends on the development of autonomous vehicles to reduce labor costs from its drivers. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Automakers recalled 53.2 million vehicles in 2016, NHTSA says.


Auto Rental News (3/22) reports automakers recalled 53.2 million vehicles in the US during 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. With a total of 927 recalls last year, there was “an average of 2.5 recalls per day and 145,753 vehicles affected daily.” 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Nissan recalls more than 54,000 cars because airbags can deploy when door slams.


The AP (3/11) reports on a recall of “more than 54,000 cars” by Nissan in North America “because of curtain and seat-mounted air bags that may unexpected deploy when the door is slammed.” The company says the defect affects Versas from 2012 and “may be caused by the degradation of the side impact sensor connector pins.” 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Mercedes-Benz recalls 1 million vehicles for fire risk.


Motor Trend (3/6, 2.62M) reports Mercedes-Benz is recalling “roughly 1 million vehicles worldwide due to a fire risk involving a starter part.” According to the company, “the fires stem from a flawed current limiter or fuse that can overheat and melt other parts after repeated attempts to start.” WBNS-TV Columbus, OH (3/6, 184K) reports online that 308,000 of the vehicles are located in the US. Mercedes-Benz is “currently unaware of any injuries or deaths resulting from the issue.” 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Mercedes recalls more than 350,000 cars for fire risk.

Consumerist (3/3, Kieler, 56K) reports on “the recall of 354,434 model year 2015 to 2017 C-Class, E-Class, and CLA cars and GLA and GLC SUVs” by Mercedes-Benz over fire risks due to defective starters “that can overheat.”

        The Car Connection (3/3, Read, 86K), Cars (3/3, Masterson, 716K), Law360 (3/3, Kass, 23K), and the Automotive Fleet (3/3, 62K) also report. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Atlee Hall Attorney Jaime Jackson Speaks to National Audience on the Sorin Stockert 3T Heater Cooler Device and Nontuberculous Mycobacteria Chimaera Infections

Atlee Hall Attorney Jaime Jackson recently updated a group of attorneys gathered in Miami, Florida on the status of litigation involving the Sorin 3T heater-cooler devices.  Atlee Hall has been at the forefront of this litigation involving the Sorin 3T and the Nontuberculous Mycobacteria chimaera (NTM) bacteria infection, since 2014
It had been alleged that the Sorin 3T heater-cooler devices manufactured by Sorin Group Deutschland and distributed by Sorin Group USA in Arvada, Colorado, contained Nontuberculous Mycobacteria chimaera, which contaminated patients at local hospitals during open heart surgical procedures.  The CDC referred to a recent study published in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report which confirmed that genome sequencing from patients with confirmed bacterial infections matched bacteria samples taken from contaminated machines.   The study identifies contamination of the devices at the company’s manufacturing plant in Munchen, Germany.

While many hospitals have not yet disclosed patient infections to date, Pennsylvania hospitals in Philadelphia, York, and Dauphin counties have revealed the presence of infections.  Most recently, Penn Presbyterian Hospital in Philadelphia has confirmed that several of its patients have been diagnosed with the infection.  It is expected that the number of confirmed cases will continue to grow after the publication of this study since the Sorin devices comprise approximately 60% of the market for these devices.  Atlee Hall, LLP currently represents several patients who have contracted the NTM infection from the Sorin Stockert 3T Heater-Cooler Devices 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

        Attorneys mobilize for legal challenges to Trump policies. The New York Times (1/30, Savage, Subscription Publication, 13.9M) reports that “the calls and emails went out a little past 10 p.m. Friday, rippling through an informal network of current and former Yale Law School students who had worked at the school’s immigrant rights advocacy clinic.” The news “told of an Iraqi man being detained at Kennedy International Airport because of President Trump’s travel ban, putting him at imminent risk of deportation.” According to the Times, “around three dozen lawyers and law students across the country” worked through the night and “slammed together a legal complaint asking a federal judge to free the man” and “to certify their lawsuit as a class action on behalf of others in a similar situation.” They filed their lawsuit around 5:30 am “on the electronic docket system for the Eastern District of New York,” and thus “began the opening salvos of the legal pushback to Mr. Trump’s executive order banning entry to refugees and others from seven predominantly Muslim countries.” 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Honda airbag recall expanded.

The CBS Evening News (1/11, story 9, 0:30, Pelley, 11.17M) reported Honda is recalling an additional 772,000 vehicles due to defective Takata air bags, bringing the recall to “as many as 69 million air bags in American cars and trucks.”

        Car and Driver (1/11, Atiyeh, 5.64M) reports that Honda’s addition of “772,000 more cars” to the airbag recalls comes “as the troubled Japanese supplier announced new repair schedules for several million inflators currently under recall.” The article notes that “Honda has the most US vehicles of any automaker affected by the Takata recalls,” with the total “now standing at 11.4 million cars and motorcycles.” 

Monday, January 9, 2017

FCA recalls 100,000 vehicles worldwide to fix Takata airbags.

The AP (1/6) reports Fiat Chrysler issued a recall notice for “more than 100,000 older trucks and SUVs worldwide to replace potentially dangerous Takata air bag inflators,” which have been at the heart of the largest auto recall in world history.
        USA Today (1/6, 5.28M) reports online that the recall mostly affects “passenger but some driver air bags in certain 2009 Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango SUVs, some 2010 Ram 3500 chassis cabs, and certain 2005-2009 Ram 2500 pickups.”
        Reuters (1/6) also reports.

        Takata says 1.3 million more faulty airbag inflators in US vehicles. AutoBeat Daily (1/6, Subscription Publication) reports Takata announced “another 1.3 million of its front airbag inflators in the U.S. could explode,” but the company informed NHTSA “that the new batch of devices can do the same after only moderate heat and humidity cycles.” The vehicles are mostly from the 2009 model year, with “20 states and the District of Columbia” falling under the recall. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

NHTSA’s proposed safety regulations will impact autonomous vehicle market.


Forbes (1/4, Banker, 15.17M) reports that NHTSA’s proposed safety regulations, which would use vehicle-to-vehicle radio communications to “automatically send vehicle sensor data...to other vehicles to alert drivers to potential crash situations,” could hasten the rate at which autonomous vehicles “become viable...because the chief impediment to the viability of autonomous vehicles are fears that they are not safe enough.” However, the “proposed rule makings” of federal agencies “progress incrementally,” so the “full benefits” of V2V technology “won’t be present until all vehicles are subject to the same regulations.” 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Safety regulators investigate seat belt failure in Hyundai vehicles.

The Detroit News (1/3, 473K) reports that “US safety regulators” are investigating complaints that “the front passenger seat belts can fail in about 313,000 Hyundai midsize cars” from the 2013 model year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has received “two complaints that the seat belts detached,” and “one injury was reported due to the problem.”

        Forbes (1/3, 15.17M) reports that federal regulators are “investigating whether to recall about 313,000 2013 Hyundai Sonatas” based on “complaints by two owners.” Forbes specifies that the investigation is a “preliminary evaluation,” which will be “upgraded to an engineering analysis” only if investigators find “additional reason for concern.”