How Do I Know If My Car Has A Recall?

How Do I Know If My Car Has A Recall?

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How Do I Know If My Car Has A Recall?

There’s a handful of ways to know if your car has a recall. The first, and really the most important, way that you need to know, is you can look at a government website called safercar.gov and they will tell you clearly if there is a recall that applies to your vehicle. They’ll also tell you if it’s a safety related recall.

Most people buy used cars and most people don’t know that when you buy a used car, they can sell you the car without disclosing to you that a recall service hasn’t been performed.

Sometimes you’ll get recall notices in the mail, but don’t count on this. Don’t count on being able to receive all this information effectively through the mail because a manufacturer may or may not know about you. That’s especially true if you’ve bought a used car.

Last, and the most important thing people need to realize about recalls, is just because you don’t have a recall on your vehicle, doesn’t mean that it’s safe. If you are injured by something in your vehicle and you don’t see a recall posted online, that doesn’t mean what happened was right.

When you come to a firm like us and we take your case, the recalls that happen, happen as a result of the work of this firm. Make sure you know what is going on with your vehicle and make sure you know whether a recall has been performed or whether you need to go take care of one.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Again Tops Quarterly Vehicle Safety Watch List

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Jeep Grand Cherokee Again Tops Quarterly Vehicle Safety Watch List

The Safety Institute released the Quarterly Vehicle Safety Watch List this month and Jeep Grand Cherokee again took the top 2 spots. Plagued with power train issues, 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees have held the #1 and #2 positions since November 2016. The report monitors NHTSA investigations and recalls to share the vehicles with the most concerning safety issues at press time.

The powertrain problem with the Jeep Grand Cherokees correlates to the 2016 Fiat Chrysler recall of vehicles equipped with a mono-stable gear selector. This gear shift created great confusion with drivers who exited their vehicles thinking they were in the PARK position, only to have the vehicle roll away, colliding with objects and people. At first Fiat Chrysler attempted to better educate the drivers on the new gear shift when they first were investigated in 2015. After nearly 300 reported incidents of rollaway, and the high profile death of actor Anton Yelchin who was struck and killed by his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Fiat Chrysler initiated a recall of over 800,000 vehicles equipped with this specific gear shifter which includes the 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, the 2012-2014 Chrysler 300 (#3 on Watch List) and 2012-2014 Dodge Chargers.

GM’s Chevy Cobalt is a regular on this list for electrical problems stemming from faulty ignition switches discovered by the investigative work of Lance Cooper and The Cooper Firm. The 2009 Toyota Camry also remains on this quarter’s list for its unintended acceleration/speed control issues.

To view the complete list for this year and previous years, visit The Safety Institute’s website.

If you, or someone you know, have been injured by a vehicle with a reported safety defect, please contact us today.

Source: The Safety Institute Press Release

NHTSA Declined to Probe Toyota’s Unintended Acceleration

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NHTSA Declined to Probe Toyota’s Unintended Acceleration

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has rejected a probe from an electrical engineer to investigate low-speed unintended acceleration in Toyota and Lexus vehicles.

Gopal Raghavan from Thousand Oaks, California, an electrical engineer with a doctorate degree from Stanford University, filed a petition with the government safety agency requesting that they open an investigation in June of this year. Raghavan claimed that his 2009 Lexus ES350 sedan suddenly accelerated while his wife was driving, smashing them into some bushes. He also cited information from the vehicle’s data recorder, requesting that the agency look at the cars’ hardware and software. His information cited that the gas pedal was not pressed until one second before the crash, which does not make sense to him.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a document declining the probe, stating that the three crashes cited in the request are consistent with the driver mistakenly hitting the gas pedal instead of the brake. NHTSA also shared that it has already examined the issue in two previous studies. Regarding the event data recorder in Raghavan’s probe, NHTSA replied that the gas was being pumped between samples taken every second. “The petitioner’s allegations regarding the three crashes are based upon several misconceptions about the manner in which the EDR samples and records pre-crash data in the ES350, Corolla and Camry vehicles. In each of the three crashes, the vehicles accelerated as the drivers were attempting to park the vehicles. All three accelerations occurred as the vehicles were entering the intended parking spaces and in the times and positions where driver braking should be initiated to safely park the vehicles,” NHTSA said.

Sudden acceleration is not a new issue for Toyota. There have been investigations and recalls for 10 million vehicles and several lawsuits. NHTSA even penalized Toyota $1.2 billion for hiding the information. Most of the related recalls have been related to faulty brakes, sticky gas pedals and floor mats, but Toyota has denied that it has problems with the electronic throttle controls.

This is the second time this year that NHTSA has refused to open an investigation on Toyota’s unintended acceleration. Another engineer sent a similar probe in May of 2015.

If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a defective vehicle or due to a car accident, contact our law offices today for a free consultation.

Toyota Electronics Finally Found Guilty for Unintended Acceleration

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Toyota Electronics Finally Found Guilty for Unintended Acceleration

We have discussed several cases against Toyota for the unintended accelerations leading to terrible accidents involving the company’s vehicles on our blog. But we may see a change in Toyota’s response to these cases after a recent settlement for a crash that happened in 2007 involving Jean Bookout.

Jean Bookout and her friend and passenger Barabara Schwarz were exiting Highway 69 in Oklahoma when Bookout’s 2005 Camry showed no response to Bookout’s foot braking the car. Bookout pulled the parking brake on the vehicle leaving a 100-foot skid mark on the road, but the vehicle ended up crashing in an embankment. Schwarz died of her injuries and Bookout spent two months recovering from head and back injuries. The case ended up settling and awarded Bookout $1.5 million and Schwarz’s family $1.5 million. The jury also determined that Toyota acted with “reckless disregard.” This was the first case that was able to show Toyota’s electronic malfunctions as the center of unintended acceleration. Now it is on record that Toyota knew about the failures of its system and when the company discovered it.

Toyota has done a great job at hiding what they knew about its faulty system in the past. The fact Bookout was alive to testify and the 100-foot skid mark to prove she braked probably helped her case against others in the past. For a while, the company was able place the blame on driver error in cases like Noriko Uno who died in a 2009 crash. The company has also placed blame on floor mats in cases such as Dr. Amir Sitafalwalla, who lost his case in 2011 regarding an accident involving Toyota Scion. Even on cases that were not in Toyota’s favor, Toyota has still managed to remain guiltless. The Safety Research & Strategies, Inc. gives several more examples of other cases in their recent blog post about Toyota electronics. Regardless of where the company may have pointed the blame before, Bookout’s case may have prevented Toyota from shifting the blame in the future.

Source: Toyota Electronics = Guilty in Bookout, “Safety Research & Strategies, Inc.” October 27, 2013.

Should Toyota be held liable for this woman’s death?

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Should Toyota be held liable for this woman’s death?

Noriko Uno was 66-years-old when she died after her Toyota Camry struck a telephone pole and tree. Her family filed a lawsuit against Toyota for her death and for failure to install a brake override safety system on her vehicle. The Camry allegedly had an unintended acceleration problem which caused the accident.

The case was taken to trial, where the jury is still deliberating its outcome. The case will determine whether Toyota will be held responsible for the unintended acceleration as part of a larger group of litigation filed in state courts. Toyota has defended itself by saying that a braking system would not have prevented the crash, and that it was a driver error which mistook the gas pedal as the brake.

The Plaintiff’s lawyer Garo Madriorssian, shared with the jury that Uno had pulled her emergency brake before she died, which proves she was trying to gain control of the vehicle. This is not the only time that Toyota has pushed the blame elsewhere. We have heard them blame unintended acceleration on floor mats, stuck accelerators, and drivers which have led to several million vehicles worldwide being recalled.

Even though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and NASA have not found evidence of an electrical problem, there are over 80 similar cases filed in state courts against Toyota.

Source: LaTimes.com

Stuck accelerator on Kia Sorento causes Iowa woman to drive up to 115 mph on major roadway

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Stuck accelerator on Kia Sorento causes Iowa woman to drive up to 115 mph on major roadway

Lauri Ulvestad, 47 from Iowa, was driving home from visiting a friend Aug. 19 when the accelerator in her 2011 Kia Sorento SUV became stuck.

A dash-camera video captured by the Missouri State Highway Patrol officers who soon began following her shows the 35 minutes of terror that Ulvestad endured as her car traveled 59 miles at speeds as high as 115 mph

Ulvestad can be seen in the video swerving to dodge cars and driving over the highway median three times in order to avoid a crash. While navigating her car, she also reached for a lifeline, using her cell phone to dial 911 and plead with an operator for help. “I’m coming up on a bunch of cars. I’m so scared,” Ulvestad says on the call.

The 911 dispatcher instructed Ulvestad to stay calm and try to shift the vehicle into neutral. When that proved unsuccessful, she told Ulvestad to lift up the stuck accelerator while also pushing down on the brake until, finally, it worked.

The dash-cam video shows a shaky Ulvestad emerging from her car after it stopped, with her cell phone still pressed to her ear. A highway trooper then enters the vehicle to turn it off.

Kia Motors America Inc. representatives quickly inspected the Sorento saying, “Our technicians have been unable to duplicate the issue and this appears to be an isolated incident.” A formal statement by the South Korean company on Friday states, “KMA will continue to investigate and analyze the facts of this situation and will work with the customer to resolve the matter in a timely manner.”

Ford and NHTSA Slip Up Costing Many People Their Lives

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Ford and NHTSA Slip Up Costing Many People Their Lives

Most people would consider the death of a young girl enough to do a Recall Query, but in the case of the Ford Escape, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) didn’t feel that it was necessary. In January 2012, Saige Bloom, a 17-year-old driver, in Payson, Arizona was driving home her first car, a 2002 Escape, when she died in an unintended acceleration crash. Bloom’s mother was following her home when she lost control of her car causing it to roll over. Bloom succumbed to her injuries a short time later at the hospital.

Clarence Ditlow, the executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, petitioned to have the agency open a Recall Query after Bloom’s death, but nothing was done…at least not for 8 years.

In December 2004, Ford filed two Part 573 Defect and Non-Compliance Reports stating that it was recalling approximately 591,245 Escapes and Tributes between the years of 2002-2004 because of an accelerator cable inner liner that could migrate out of the conduit at the dash panel and may come in contact with the accelerator pedal assembly causing the pedal to not return to the fully released position (“idle”). The repair was simply replacing the old accelerator cable with a new one. Unfortunately, the repair increased the odds that the throttle could get stuck. Ford then sent a Technical Service Bulletin in 2006 to the dealers telling them to disregard the previous repair because it could damage the cruise control cable, which in an open throttle situation could become jammed.

What was worse was Ford never told drivers of the Escape who had bought their car previously that the recall would make their vehicle even more dangerous.

Ford saw more fatalities as a result. Since the NHTSA has no policy in place to see that the manufacturer met the recall obligations, they have no way of determining if the deadly defects are being fixed. So instead, the agency just slapped Ford with A $17.3 million civil penalty.

This is not the first time that the NHTSA has not acted in a timely and forthright manner. For more the secrets it’s hiding you can check out Sean Kane’s : What Doesn’t the NHTSA Want You to Know About Auto Safety?

Source:The Safety Record, “NHTSA’s “Tough” Stance on Ford Recall- Eight Years too Late”

Ford Faces a Lawsuit Due to Unintended Acceleration

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Ford Faces a Lawsuit Due to Unintended Acceleration

Not only has Toyota experienced problems with their vehicles having unintended acceleration issues, but Ford is now facing the issue as well. A lawsuit was filed against Ford Motor Co. for several Ford and Lincoln vehicles that were manufactured between 2002 and 2010 that have unintentional acceleration problems and “adequate fail-safe systems” to prevent crashes. The lawsuit was filed in West Virginia on behalf of consumers in 14 different states.

The lawsuit describes situations in which drivers of Ford vehicles had issues with the vehicles electronic throttle system. The problems resulted in their vehicles accelerating unexpectedly with the driver being unable to stop the vehicle using the brake. The lawsuit does not include any claims of personal injury or wrongful death. Ford allegedly knew about this defect and did not share it with consumers. Consumers are hoping to get compensation for paying too much for vehicles that were defective. Most consumers were under the assumption that they paid for a vehicle that was equipped with a brake-override system installed.

In 2009, Toyota had a similar situation with unintended acceleration, these systems, also known as smart pedals, were only being used by the European automakers. Now, the systems are far more common and by 2010, Toyota had claimed that the company had installed Smart Stop on 2.2 million vehicles.

Ford responded with a statement it had compiled with the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, “NHTSA’s work is far more scientific and trustworthy than work done by personal injury lawyers and their paid experts. In rare situations, vehicles factors, such as floor mats or throttle operation, and manufacturers have addressed these rare events in the field service actions.”

The Ford vehicles affected by this acceleration issue are:

Ford vehicles: 2005-2007 models 500s; 2005-2009 Crown Victorias; 2005-2010 Econolines; 2007 2010 Edges; 2009-2010 Escapes; 2005-2010 Escape HEVs; 2005-2010 Expeditions; 2004-2010 Explorers; 2007-2010 Explorer Sport Tracs; 2004-2010 F-Series; 2009-2010 Flex; 2008-2010 Focus; 2005-2007 Freestyles; 2006-2010 Fusions; 2005-2010 Mustangs; 2008-2010 Taurus; 2008-2009 Taurus Xs; 2002-2005 Thunderbirds; and 2010 Transit Connects.

Lincoln vehicles: 2003-2006 LS; 2006-2008 Mark LTs; 2009-2010 MKS; 2010 MKTs; 2007-2010 MKXs; 2006-2010 MKZs; 2005-2009 Town Cars; and 2006-2010 Zephyrs.

Mercury vehicles: 2002-2005 Cougars (XR7); 2005-2009 Grand Marquis; 2009-2010 Mariners; 2005-2010 Mariner HEVs; 2006-2010 Milans; 2005-2007 Montegos; 2004-2010 Mountaineers; and 2008-2010 Sables.

Source: New York Times, “Suit claims Ford failed to protect vehicles from unintended acceleration,” Christopher Jensen, March 29, 2013.

Breaking News: CNN discovered confidential document confirming Toyota never knew sudden unintended acceleration was caused by electronic software

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CNN has discovered a confidential memo revealing Toyota engineers were aware of an electronic software problem that caused sudden unintended acceleration in test vehicles during the pre-production phase. Engineers raised concerns of problems with the adaptive cruise-control software in a test model designated the 250L (later sold as the Lexus 460) and called for a “fail-safe overhaul” for another model, internally designated the 180L (later sold as the Toyota Tundra).  Read the English version of the memo.

“The cruise control activates by itself at full throttle when the accelerator pedal position sensor is abnormal,” states the document, written in Japanese and translated into English.

Toyota was under scrutiny in 2010 when a rash of claims were made of sudden unintended acceleration in their vehicles, however, both Toyota and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) claimed that the problems were with bad floor mats, sticky accelerator pedals, and even driver error.

Toyota and the NHTSA’s conclusions were backed by the National Research Council, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences. In a January 18 report, the research council called the findings legitimate but warned that the NHTSA could face difficulties in examining increasingly complicated electronic systems unless it adds more electronics expertise to investigation teams.

Michael Pecht, director of the CALCE Electronics Products and Systems Center at the University of Maryland, was assigned to look into the claims as a consultant for Congress. Pecht questioned why the document wasn’t shared with NHTSA during the investigation. Toyota said it did not share the document with the NHTSA because “the test and the document had nothing to do with unintended acceleration, or a defect, or a safety flaw of any kind.”

Toyota electrical engineer Kristen Tabar said the sequence described in the test memo “takes place in a fraction of a second.” “This is a case where the vehicle is under test,” said Tabar, a manager at the Toyota Technical Center near Ann Arbor, Michigan. “Again, we input an abnormal signal. The vehicle reacts appropriately to that signal and releases the brake, just as we would expect it to do and want it to do. This has nothing to do with sudden unintended acceleration at all.”

Toyota says that the test vehicle “did not physically move forward” and that the experiment led to “an adjustment and refinement” of the cruise control before it went into production and that the issue has never occurred in any Toyota vehicle sold.

Toyota’s Excuse This Time- The Japanese to English Translation is Inaccurate!

Kristen Tabar, who does not even speak Japanese, claims that the translation of the document from Japanese to English is not accurate. “The exact translation is not ‘sudden unintended acceleration’….” “This is a test referring to adaptive cruise control, so the literal translation is, ‘it can begin or start by itself,’ which is consistent with what you would expect from a cruise control, or in this case, an adaptive cruise control system.”

CNN initially had the document translated by two different experts. When Toyota argued that both translations were in error, CNN commissioned a third translation by another firm in the United States with expertise in automotive and engineering translations. According to the third translation, Toyota’s engineers stated that a test was conducted on the 180L “to prevent the accelerator malfunction that caused the vehicle to accelerate on its own” in an earlier test of the 250L.

Instead of providing their own translation of the document (despite multiple requests by CNN) Toyota simply responded in a letter stating, “It is ironic and disheartening that a document that is actually evidence of Toyota’s robust vehicle design and pre-production testing to ensure safety is the apparent centerpiece for CNN’s broadcast.” Read the full letter.

Thanks to CNN- now it’s not just Plaintiffs attorneys who know Toyota is hiding something.

Toyota Unintended Acceleration – What NHTSA doesn’t want you to know

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The Federal government is at it again. Toyota has spent tens of millions of dollars over the past few years trying to convince the Federal government and the public there are no electronic problem with its vehicles that cause unintended acceleration. Toyota was able to convince the NHTSA to conclude there was no electronic-base cause for unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles. NHTSA reached its conclusion despite the substantial evidence showing that many unintended accelerations appear to be due to a problem with the electronics in the vehicle.

Now, it appears that NHTSA is covering up other evidence showing that there is an electronic-base cause for some of these unintended accelerations. Below is a link to safety expert, Sean Kane’s blog describing an unintended acceleration incident involving a Toyota Prius driven by a Federal employee which, apparently, NHTSA does not want the public to know about.

Government Officials Video Electronic Unintended Acceleration in Toyota: NHTSA Hides Information, SRS Sues Agency for Records
By: Sean Kane- Safety Research and Strategy, Inc.


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