Ford Motor Company knowingly launched sales of the Focus and Fiesta models with defective transmissions and continued to sell them despite thousands of complaints, according to a recent investigation by the Detroit Free Press. The cars were put on sale in 2010-11 and at least 1.5 million remain on the road. The defective transmissions can result in random loss of power on the freeway or unexpected bolting into intersections.
A jury in Dallas recently determined that the seatbelt system in the 2011 Honda Odyssey is defective. The lawsuit claimed that the design of the seatbelt for the third-row middle seat was defective. The seatbelt design was a two-part system that required the rider to anchor the detachable shoulder strap from the ceiling of the van to the seat and then pull the belt across the users hips before it can buckle. Independent testing performed by an expert found that less than 10% of participants successfully operated the Honda Odyssey's two-part seatbelt system.
A jury in Dallas returned a $37.6 million verdict against Honda in February 2019 after a nine-day trial. The trial surrounded 27-year-old Sarah Millburn, who was left quadriplegic with only minimal use of her arms and hands after an accident in 2015. The crash occurred when Sarah was riding as an Uber passenger in a 2011 Honda Odyssey minivan that was T-boned by a pickup truck.
Last month, the family of a deceased California man filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Tesla when the vehicle's self-driving systems failed to detect a concrete median, causing the vehicle to accelerate into the barrier. This incident is just one of many cases involving victims injured due to self-driving or "autonomous vehicles."
On July 30th 2018, owners of 2013-2016 Fusion sedans and 2013-2014 Escape SUVs were notified by Ford about a transmission system defect that posed a rollaway risk. The defect resulted in 550,000 vehicles across North America to be recalled. Now almost a year later, Ford recalls another 270,000 vehicles, specifically the 2013-2016 Ford Fusion cars equipped with a 2.5-liter engine, over the same issue of faulty shifter cable bushings and urges owners to use the parking brake until the defect has been repaired.
Volkswagen is under scrutiny again as they have recently announced another recall of over 56,000 cars and SUVs in the U.S. This time, the culprit appears to be the rear coil spring that can break without warning and cause a driver to lose control of his or her vehicle. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the broken spring poses a threat that can cause damage to the tire or become a road hazard. The NHTSA attributes the defect to the parts maker applying the wrong type of material or manufacturing process in the creation of the springs.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more people are killed in motor vehicle accidents due to faulty tires than in accidents caused by distracted driving. The NHTSA reports that 738 people died in 2017 from accidents caused by tire-related issues. Compare that to deaths caused by cellphone-related accidents, which has never exceeded 500 people for any year the NHTSA has collected such data. The NHTSA recommends having your tires checked annually. Clearly, ensuring that the tires on our vehicles are in good condition is something we should all take the time to do.
Ford has recalled close to one million vehicles around the world to replace defective Takata airbag inflators. The Detroit Free Press reports that the vehicles have been recalled due to a risk of flying shrapnel caused by exploding airbag inflators. Takata used the chemical, ammonium nitrate, to create an explosion to inflate airbags. However, it can deteriorate over time due to heat and humidity. When the ammonium nitrate has deteriorated, it will explode with too much force and blow apart the metal canister designed to contain the explosion. Hundreds of people have been injured by the shrapnel from these airbags and at least twenty-three people have been killed worldwide.
The operators of a limousine that crashed and killed 20 people in New York were grossly negligent in putting the "dangerous and defective" vehicle on the road, according to the lawsuit filed by one of the victim's parents.
Ford Motor Company issued a recall in North America for select 2012 to 2018 Ford Focus vehicles equipped with 2.0-liter GDI and 2.0liter GTDI engines for a malfunctioning canister purge valve. These affected vehicles are equipped with a canister purge valve that may become stuck in an open position. If this occurs, an excessive vacuum in the fuel system could cause deformation of the vehicle's plastic fuel tank. As a result, the customer could observe a malfunction indicator light or a fuel gauge with fluctuating or inaccurate fuel levels. This could lead to a stall while driving and/or an inability to restart the vehicle, which can increase the risk of a crash.