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. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Fiat Chrysler issues Pacifica minivan seat belt recall.

The AP (9/20) reports that driving a Fiat Chrysler Pacifica minivan too aggressively may cause a second-row seat belt to unbuckle. The company “is recalling almost 50,000 Pacifica vans in the U.S. and Canada from the 2017 and 2018 model years, all with an eight-passenger seating option.” The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “said in documents posted Wednesday...that dealers will install a shorter second-row seat belt buckle in a recall that’s expected to begin on Oct. 20.” Company engineers specialized in interior safety restraints discovered the issue. Fox Business (9/20, 741K) reports the company advised not using the second-row’s center seat when other passengers are seated in the same row, until repairs are made. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Fiat Chrysler recalls nearly 500,000 trucks over defective water pump.

The Wall Street Journal (9/19, Dawson, Subscription Publication, 6.45M) reports Tuesday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced a recall of 494,417 Ram 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks as well as chassis cabs for the 3500, 4500, and 5500 models because of defective water pumps which may “overheat and potentially cause an engine fire” according to the announcement. No accidents or injuries have been reported.
        WWJ-TV Detroit (9/19, 34K) reports the trucks have 6.7-liter engines. The recall includes units with model years between 2013 to 2017. Reuters (9/19, Shepardson) reports FCA said “a small number of fire-related incidents” have been reported.

        The recall was also reported by CNN Money (9/19, Wiener-Bronner, 3.59M) and the AP (9/19).