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NHTSA criticizes Chrysler’s Jeep recall procedures

Posted on Tuesday, November 25th, 2014   

Chrysler garnered further criticism over its Jeep recall procedures when a second warning was issued by the NHTSA after a pregnant 23-year-old was killed in an accident caused by the defect, The New York Times reported on November 21.

Liberty model years 2002-2007 and Grand Cherokees 1993-1998 were among the 1.6 million vehicles recalled for heightened risk of fires in rear-end collisions, due to the placement of the gas tank behind the rear axle. Kayla White’s wreck was the most recent of 51 total fatal accidents related to this defect.

NHTSA deputy administrator David Friedman admonished the company, citing reports that claim Chrysler dealerships have turned many Jeep owners away due to lack of parts. Allegedly, some dealerships even told customers that no changes were needed. The same day, Chrysler issued a statement re-asserting their commitment to the recall by assuring additional efforts to reach affected customers and ensure fully stocked dealerships.

Automakers are held to a high safety standard, as car accidents caused by defects can result in serious injuries and damages. When manufacturers fail to provide safe vehicles, then, they should be held fully liable for any resulting financial losses. The Tennessee car accident lawyers at Pohl & Berk, LLP, are dedicated to representing victims of defective vehicles against negligent manufacturers. Call our offices at (615) 277-2765 today to begin taking action.


Expanded Takata recalls in the U.S. and Japan

Posted on Monday, November 24th, 2014   

Regulatory agencies in the U.S. and Japan are ordering an expanded recall following mounting concerns over defective Takata airbags, The New York Times recently reported.

Previously isolated to high-humidity areas like Florida and Puerto Rico, Takata is now being ordered to expand their recall to include the rest of the United States in the midst of The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing investigating the impact of the design flaw. This decision was partially influenced by reports of injuries in North Carolina and California—outside of the previously designated region. Senators in the committee concluded that “the danger presented by Takata airbags is not limited to any one part of the country.” Millions of vehicles spanning a large number of makes and models are named in the recall; an updated and detailed list has yet to be released.

Recalls of affected vehicles have also been issued in Japan, and authorities are considering whether or not to broaden the scope of this recall. Regulators there have demanded an investigation from Takata directly. This is a departure from normal protocol in which the transportation ministry generally addresses the automaker about concerns instead of the supplier. However, an official from the agency says this type of action is taken in “serious instances” when “speedy answers” are needed.


Unstable Compound Identified in Takata Air Bags

Posted on Thursday, November 20th, 2014   

Experts suspect ammonium nitrate is the likely cause for Takata’s massive air bag failures, resulting in at least five deaths and over one hundred injuries, The New York Times reported on November 19.

Reports of air bags exploding on impact, spraying shrapnel throughout the cabin, began pouring in from across the nation, especially in high humidity areas. Takata and safety officials have not been able to definitively identify the cause of the problem. However, some are now pointing to the ammonium nitrate included in its inflators as the source of the malfunction. Takata switched the chemical compound used in its inflators from the stable, but expensive, tetrazole to ammonium nitrate in the mid-1990s. Experts in explosives engineering explain that ammonium nitrate can become unstable in fluctuating temperature conditions; the cycling temperature changes from day to night over time can be enough to trigger this effect in some areas of the nation.

Though critics note that ammonium nitrate is significantly less expensive than tetrazole, Takata maintains that the switch occurred because the compound “produced gas more efficiently with fewer emissions.”

Currently, Takata refutes the link between ammonium nitrate and the air bag defects; they have developed a “newly updated propellant” they are using in replacement air bags for the 14 million vehicles named in their recall, according to Reuters, but ammonium nitrate is still included in the updated formula, The New York Times claims.


GM sees increase in faulty ignition switch claims

Posted on Friday, November 14th, 2014   

Kenneth Feinberg, General Motors Co,’s lawyer for all cases involving faulty ignition switch claims, may begin considering regulators’ files for relevant accidents. On November 12, Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, sent a request to Feinberg suggesting looking for possible switch victims in the regulator files. Ditlow also claimed that Feinberg “should be processing claims faster.”

Feinberg responded to Ditlow, stating “I want to make sure that the notice program and our outreach efforts reach the right people. We are considering Clarence’s suggestions.”

Feinberg, however, disagreed that he was handling claims too slowly. He noted, “we have processed every single claim that has been submitted to us with documentation,” and that they have processed more than 800 requests for payment. Feinberg has received around 1,500 claims since August 1st, and more are expected before the December filing deadline.

There have been 30 reported fatalities linked to GM’s defective ignition switches. GM has already reserved $600 million to pay accident claims, but the number of fatalities has already exceeded GM’s initial estimates. This could indicate that the compensation fund for switch defects may not be enough.


GM ignition switches ordered months before recall

Posted on Tuesday, November 11th, 2014   

According to revealing e-mails that will likely affect court proceedings against the company, General Motors Co. (GM) issued an urgent order of ignition switches for replacement in certain vehicle models in December 2013—months prior to its massive February recall, the Wall Street Journal reported on November 10.

The e-mails were sent on December 18 between GM and Delphi Automotive PLC, the company that supplied the switches, and they asked for quick shipment of 500,000 ignition switches. A GM executive meeting had occurred the day before these e-mails were sent. An investigative report paid for by GM, however, previously claimed that a recall had not been decided on at that point.

Trials for those pursuing losses from GM in relation to the potentially fatal ignition switch defect will begin in January 2016. Although GM spokesman Alan Adler stated it was never deemed necessary to disclose the December ignition switch order, the e-mails will likely be used in court to question the company’s actions prior to the recall and their transparency in the aftermath.

Delphi was asked to produce the e-mails in regards to a court case in New York.


Japanese Manufacturer Takata Caught in Cover Up

Posted on Monday, November 10th, 2014   

In November 2008, the first round of recalls involving vehicles equipped with certain airbags manufactured by Takata were issued due to concerns over defective airbags. When the recall was announced, the company cited studies from 2008 that showed the risk of defective airbags in certain vehicles.

Now, former Takata employees have stepped forward to disclose that the company actually completed secret tests in 2004 when the first reports of rupturing airbags occurred. According to these former employees, secret tests were ordered by Takata executives and conducted after official business hours and on weekends. These initial tests indicated that the steel inflaters in the airbags cracked upon impact and could allow the airbags to release dangerous debris. Despite this, the former workers now state that the executives ordered the test results to be thrown out and erased from company records.

These defective airbags have been the cause of over 130 injuries and four deaths. Takata will likely face legal action from those who were injured by the airbags prior to the recall.

If you were involved in a car accident involving defective or faulty airbags, you may be eligible to seek financial compensation from the liable parties, and the legal team at Pohl & Berk, LLP, is prepared to help you through this process. For more information about your legal options, call our Tennessee personal injury lawyers at (615) 277-2765 today.


NHTSA under fire for inaction concerning GM’s air bag problems

Posted on Friday, November 7th, 2014   

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is having to answer for its failure to recall GM’s Chevy Cobalt and Saturn Ion for air bag defects, according to a report from safetyresearch.net.

Critics were outraged to discover that the NHTSA did not issue a recall after the air bags failed to deploy in at least 43 accidents, resulting in 27 injuries and four deaths since the first incident was reported in 2005. Earlier this year, David Friedman, NHTSA Acting Administrator, stated at a House Committee on Energy and Commerce meeting that there was no reason to issue a recall because there was not a statistically significant rate of air bag malfunction compared to other manufacturers.

A recent analysis, however, shows that the agency was considering Chevy and Saturn as individual entities, rather than all under GM; if compiled under their parent company, incidence of complaints do become statistically significant, revealing a 54% higher reported rate of air bag failure compared to other automakers.

Protesters are outraged that another potentially fatal auto defect was concealed from the public for so long. Some believe that the NHTSA’s fierce defense is due to concerns about defending their reputation after the GM ignition switch debacle.


Congress Demands Action on Takata Recalls as NHTSA Flubs Response

Posted on Monday, October 27th, 2014   

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s attempts to persuade consumers to immediately respond to the exploding Takata airbag recalls backfired, as the agency’s website was full of mis-information and partially inoperable. Acting Administrator David Friedman affirmed Toyota’s plan to disable defective airbags until replacements could be installed, reasoning that an airbag inflator that could rupture was already broken, drawing a sharp response from several members of Congress.

U.S. Senators Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) sent a blistering letter to the agency, pointing out that disabling an airbag is prohibited by federal law.

We are alarmed and astonished that NHTSA has endorsed a policy recently announced by Toyota and GM that dealers should disable passenger-side airbags and instruct against permitting passengers in the front seat if replacement parts for these airbags are unavailable. As a matter of policy, this step is extraordinarily troubling and potentially dangerous. As a matter of law, as you are aware, §30122(b) of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (49 U.S.C.) prohibits a manufacturer from knowingly making a safety device inoperative unless the Secretary issues a specific exemption. We are unaware of an exemption from your office in the case of Takata airbags. We are also unaware of any risk assessment or other analysis conducted by NHTSA or automobile manufacturers showing that more lives would be saved than lost by disabling these air bags. Lastly, we are unaware of any information distinguishing the safety threats posed by the passenger-side airbags from the driver-side airbags. If the airbag is too dangerous for passengers, how can the very same airbag installed on the driver-side be sufficiently safe for drivers?

Senator Bill Nelson of Florida took the agency to task for urging vehicle owners to take action, without providing them with specific steps, and for allowing automakers to launch regional recalls. He pointed out that many of his state’s part-time resident may have their cars registered in northern states, but still spent significant parts of the year in a hot and humid climate. All three urged automakers affected by the recalls to provide customers awaiting replacement airbags with free rental cars,. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce has talked about holding a hearing.

There are now 7.8 million U.S. vehicles under recall involving 10 manufacturers: Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Chrysler, Ford and General Motors. In 2009, Takata told NHTSA that it has used propellant chemistry in more than 100,000,000 air bag inflators sold to most major vehicle manufacturers over the past 10 years.  Friedman has said that NHTSA investigators have “definitively identified the root cause.” But, given the many explanations that Takata has offered over the last six years, it’s hard to believe.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that federal prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York are investigating if Takata lied to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the scope of the defect. This is the same office that successfully concluded a four-year probe into Toyota’s actions surrounding Unintended Acceleration last March. The automaker pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and agreed to pay the government $1.2 billion for lying about the defect to NHTSA and consumers.

You can view the Manufacturer, Make, Model, Model Year(s), and Recall Numbers of affected vehicles on the list below:

  • Mazda, Mazda, Mazda6, 2003-2004, 13V130
  • Mazda, Mazda, RX-8, 2004, 13V130
  • Toyota, Toyota, Corolla, 2002-2004, 13V133
  • Toyota, Toyota, Matrix, 2002-2004, 13V133
  • Toyota, Lexus, SC430, 2002-2004, 13V133
  • Toyota, Toyota, Sequoia, 2002-2004, 13V133
  • Toyota, Toyota, Tundra, 2002-2004, 13V133
  • GM, Pontiac, Vibe, 2002-2004, 13V133
  • Nissan, Infiniti, FX35, 2003, 13V136
  • Nissan, Infiniti, FX45, 2003, 13V136
  • Nissan, Infiniti, I-30, 2001, 13V136
  • Nissan, Infiniti, I35, 2002-2003, 13V136
  • Nissan, Nissan, Maxima, 2001-2003, 13V136
  • Nissan, Nissan, Pathfinder, 2001-2003, 13V136
  • Nissan, Infiniti, QX4, 2002-2003, 13V136
  • Nissan, Nissan, Sentra, 2002-2003, 13V136
  • BMW, BMW, 325Ci, 2002-2003, 13V172
  • BMW, BMW, 325i, 2002-2003, 13V172
  • BMW, BMW, 325iT, 2002-2003, 13V172
  • BMW, BMW, 325xi, 2002-2003, 13V172
  • BMW, BMW, 325xiT, 2002-2003, 13V172
  • BMW, BMW, 330Ci, Convertible, 2002-2003, 13V172
  • BMW, BMW, 330Ci, Coupe, 2002-2003, 13V172
  • BMW, BMW, 330i, 2002-2003, 13V172
  • BMW, BMW, 330xi, Sedan, 2002-2003, 13V172
  • BMW, BMW, M3, Convertible, 2002-2003, 13V172
  • BMW, BMW, M3, Coupe, 2002-2003, 13V172
  • Nissan, Infiniti, FX, 2003-2005, 14V340
  • Nissan, Infiniti, I35, 2003-2004, 14V340
  • Nissan, Infiniti, M, 2006, 14V340
  • Nissan, Nissan, Pathfinder, 2003-2004, 14V340
  • Nissan, Nissan, Sentra, 2004-2006, 14V340
  • Ford, Ford, GT, 2005-2006, 14V343
  • Ford, Ford, Mustangs, 2005-2007, 14V343
  • Ford, Ford, Ranger, 2004, 14V343
  • Mazda, Mazda, B-Series, 2004, 14V344
  • Mazda, Mazda, Mazda6, 2003-2007, 14V344
  • Mazda, Mazda, MazdaSpeed6, 2006-2007, 14V344
  • Mazda, Mazda, MPV, 2004-2005, 14V344
  • Mazda, Mazda, RX-8, 2004-2008, 14V344
  • BMW, BMW, 325i, 2004-2006, 14V348
  • BMW, BMW, 325xi, 2004-2005, 14V348
  • BMW, BMW, 330i, 2004-2006, 14V348
  • BMW, BMW, 330xi, 2004-2005, 14V348
  • BMW, BMW, M3, 2004-2006, 14V348
  • Toyota, Toyota, Corolla, 2003-2005, 14V350
  • Toyota, Toyota, Matrix, 2003-2005, 14V350
  • Toyota, Lexus, SC430, 2003-2005, 14V350
  • Toyota, Toyota, Sequoia, 2003-2005, 14V350
  • Toyota, Toyota, Tundra, 2003-2005, 14V350
  • Toyota, Pontiac, Vibe, 2003-2005, 14V350
  • Honda, Honda, Accord, 2001-2007, 14V351
  • Honda, Honda, Accord, 2001-2002, 14V351
  • Honda, Honda, Civic, 2001-2005, 14V351
  • Honda, Honda, CR-V, 2002-2006, 14V351
  • Honda, Honda, Element, 2003-2011, 14V351
  • Honda, Acura, MDX, 2003-2006, 14V351
  • Honda, Honda, Odyssey, 2002-2004, 14V351
  • Honda, Honda, Pilot, 2003-2007, 14V351
  • Honda, Honda, Ridgeline, 2006, 14V351
  • Honda, Acura, TL/CL, 2002-2003, 14V351
  • Honda, Honda, Accord, 2003-2005, 14V353
  • Honda, Honda, Civic, 2003-2005, 14V353
  • Honda, Honda, CR-V, 2003-2005, 14V353
  • Honda, Honda, Element, 2003-2005, 14V353
  • Honda, Acura, MDX, 2003-2005, 14V353
  • Honda, Honda, Odyssey, 2003-2004, 14V353
  • Honda, Honda, Pilot, 2003-2005, 14V353
  • Honda, Honda, Ridgeline, 2006, 14V353
  • Honda, Acura, RL, 2005, 14V353
  • Chrysler, Chrysler, 300, 2005-2008, 14V354
  • Chrysler, Chrysler, Aspen, 2007-2008, 14V354
  • Chrysler, Dodge, Dakota, 2005-2008, 14V354
  • Chrysler, Dodge, Durango, 2005-2008, 14V354
  • Mitsubishi, Mitsubishi, Raider, 2006-2007, 14V354
  • Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, 1500, 2003-2008, 14V354
  • Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, 2500, 2005-2008, 14V354
  • Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, 3500, 2006-2008, 14V354
  • Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, 4500, 2006-2008, 14V354
  • Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, 5500, 2008, 14V354
  • Subaru, Subaru, Baja, 2003-2004, 14V399
  • Subaru, Subaru, Impreza, 2004, 14V399
  • Subaru, Subaru, Legacy, 2003-2004, 14V399
  • Subaru, Subaru, Outback, 2003-2004, 14V399
  • Mitsubishi, Mitsubishi, Lancer, 2004-2005, 14V421
  • BMW, BMW, 323i, 2000, 14V428
  • BMW, BMW, 325i, 2001-2006, 14V428
  • BMW, BMW, 325xi, 2001-2005, 14V428
  • BMW, BMW, 328i, 2000, 14V428
  • BMW, BMW, 330i, 2001-2006, 14V428
  • BMW, BMW, 330xi, 2001-2005, 14V428
  • BMW, BMW, M3, 2001-2006, 14V428
  • GM, Saab, 9-2X, 2005, 14V471
  • Subaru, Subaru, Baja, 2003-2005, 14V471
  • Subaru, Subaru, Impreza, 2004-2005, 14V471
  • Subaru, Subaru, Legacy, 2003-2005, 14V471
  • Subaru, Subaru, Outback, 2003-2005, 14V471
  • Toyota, Toyota, Corolla, 2003-2005, 14V655
  • Toyota, Toyota, Matrix, 2003-2005, 14V655
  • Toyota, Lexus, SC, 2002-2005, 14V655
  • Toyota, Toyota, Sequoia, 2002-2005, 14V655
  • Toyota, Toyota, Tundra, 2003-2005, 14V655
  • GM, Pontiac, Vibe, 2003-2005, 14V655

 


Toyota pickup truck recall for possible airbag interference

Posted on Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014   

Toyota has announced the recall of around 130,000 Tundra full-size pickup trucks, manufactured at the company’s San Antonio, Texas plant, due to the danger that a plastic trim piece in the vehicles may pose by interfering with the vehicles’ side airbags, the Associated Press reported on September 12.

Toyota will be recalling United States versions of Crew-Max and Double Cab from the 2014 model year because the trim covering the center pillars of these vehicles’ front seats may not have been installed incorrectly, and they may affect how the airbag deploys. Dealers are set to make replacements on the trim of these vehicles, and owners will be notified of the issue by mail.

When a vehicle does not work properly and results in the harm of you or a loved one, seek the legal assistance of the attorneys at Pohl & Berk, LLP, in Nashville who may help you pursue financial compensation for any damages. Call our offices at (615) 277-2765 today to discuss your situation.


Toyota issues 3 separate recalls

Posted on Friday, May 30th, 2014   

Toyota Motor Corp. issued a recall on May 22 of 516,000 vehicles around the world for three separate vehicle safety issues, FOX WBRC reported.

According to officials from Toyota, there is a possibility that road salt, used in icy conditions that occur in cold climates, can cause corrosion of the spare tire carrier under the vehicle. This could dislodge the tire from its position. Toyota said that although splash protector and anti-corrosion treatment were applied to the vehicles, rusting can still occur. The recall was for 450,000 Sienna minivans of the 2004-2011 model years, which included 370,000 minivans sold in the United States, 80,000 in Canada, and 400 in Europe.

Toyota also recalled 16,000 Lexus GS 250 and 350 sedans of the 2013 model year due to a brake light malfunction that can cause the brakes or brake lights to turn on without the driver’s guidance. Lastly, 50,000 2014 Highlander and Highlander hybrid SUVs were recalled due to airbag deployment issues.

If your life has been put in danger by the use of a faulty or defective product, contact our attorneys at Pohl & Berk, LLP in Tennessee by dialing 615-277-2765, and learn how we may provide you legal assistance.

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