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Automakers increasingly tout the safety of their closely regulated and high-tech vehicles, often targeting families with younger, more vulnerable passengers. Advertisements show adoring parents buckling in small children, yet fail to acknowledge the fact that many backseat passengers face continual risk as a result of front seats too weak to avoid collapsing backwards, significantly harming the passenger directly behind them.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) claims the car’s safest place for children is in the backseat but frequently, this is not the case. Dangerously low seat standards, which have not been substantially updated since 1967,do not adequately protect automobile passengers.

Fixing seats to meet higher safety standards “would cost on the order of a dollar or so,” for automakers to accomplish per vehicle, claims one auto company engineer. 

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Chrysler defect, Chicago car accident lawyersTime and time again, corporations selling deadly or defective products manage to conceal their wrongdoings from the public eye. Even as more injuries, deaths, lawsuits, and settlements pile up, indiscretions are sealed and hidden through sealed court documents. It is both disturbing and disgusting. And it happens much more frequently than most people realize.

Remington, Chrysler, Trinity, AMG, and More

A power system defect that caused Chrysler vehicles to stop without warning while driving them is just one of the many examples of companies that have been allowed to seal lawsuit documents, continue to sell their products, and not issue a recall. As was the motion filed by plaintiffs in lawsuits against Chrysler—a plea with the courts to force them into notifying their customers of the danger. Yet it, along with the majority of evidence, was originally sealed. Just like in so many other cases:

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Kia gear shift recall, Chicago defective autoparts lawyerIn a year in which vehicle recalls have hit record numbers, Kia issues its fifth one for the year. This time, the South Korean automaker is recalling 377,000 vehicles because of gear shift defects that can cause the vehicle to roll away or cause an accident. So far, there have been three injuries from the defective car part, but no reported deaths.

Too Much Pressure Reportedly Causes Gear Shift to Break

According to the press release issued by Kia, the gear shifts crack if they receive too much pressure. Once cracked, the vehicles can then shift out of gear on their own. Vehicles affected by the recall include all Kia Sorentos manufactured from 2011 through 2013—a total of 377,000 vehicles.

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defective vehicles, Chrysler recalls vehicles, Chicago Defective Car Parts LawyerIn the midst of the Takata airbag recalls, which now includes more than 30 million vehicles, Chrysler has announced a recall on more than 11 million defective vehicles; only this one has nothing to do with Takata. In fact, this recall has nothing to do with airbags at all. It does pose a safety hazard to Chrysler owners, however, and the public deserves to know the truth.

Formal Recall Started with Software Issues

Recalls initially started after a published a story on Chrysler’s Uconnect dashboard computers. Security researchers reportedly hacked into the system of a Jeep and wirelessly took over its dashboard functions, transmission, steering, and brakes.

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Mazda airbag recall, Chicago auto defect lawyersThe Takata recall is not a new subject, but Mazda’s new recall is. In addition to recalling the Takata airbags, Mazda announced they are recalling inflators made by Takata. Mazda is taking steps to replace the defective car parts to ensure consumers who bought their vehicles are safe on the road.

Mazda is recalling almost 445,000 vehicles with dual driver side front airbag. They said the front driver side airbag is more susceptible to moisture and other influences that may cause the inflator to rupture over time. If the inflator ruptures, in the event of a crash and the airbag deploying, the inflator will send metal shards into the inside of the vehicle. Mazda vehicles affected include 2003-2008 Mazda 6 models, 2004-2008 Mazda R-8 models, and 2006-2007 Mazdaspeed 6 models.

Consumers who believe their vehicle has been impacted by the recall can enter their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) into the SaferCar.gov website. The website was created by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). They note that with the large number of vehicles being recalled it can take several days to get all the VINs of affected vehicles into the system and to check back to make sure your vehicle is not on the recall list.

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Takata airbag recall death, Chicago personal injury lawyerAn eighth death has been linked to the recalled airbags from Takata Corp. of Japan. A Los Angeles woman suffered neck and head injuries when the Honda civic she was driving crashed and the airbag deployed, sending shrapnel flying into the body of the car and the victim. This death has become more prevalent in the ongoing recall because the car being driven was a rental car.

The Honda civic the victim was driving had previously been recalled in 2009 and the owner of the vehicle had been notified four times, according to Honda, about the recall and that the vehicle needed repaired. Mark Rosekind, the administrator of the Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), stated, “The fact that this was a rental vehicle that had not been remedied is more evidence for why we are seeking author to prohibit sale or rental of any vehicle with an open safety recall.”

Rental car companies should be held to the same standards as car dealerships when vehicles receive recalls. Renting a car to a consumer when the company knows there is a recall is a product liability case. Currently, only dealerships are required to repair recalled vehicles and defective car parts before they can sell the car. Rental car companies should also be required to take a recalled vehicle out of their rotation until the defective part is fixed.

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ignition switch recall, Chicago car defect attorneyThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released reports stating the investigation into General Motors (GM) ignition switch defect was not thorough. The ignition switch defect has been connected with over 100 deaths. The GM ignition switch recall is the fourth largest defective car parts recall in history, with over 800,000 vehicles recalled.

GM knew about the defective switch as far back as 2004, but did not start recalling any vehicles until 2014. In the past year, NHTSA has taken no responsibility for any of its own actions in the investigation into the defective parts. Families who believe they did not do enough now have a small peace of mind when they announced they trusted but did not verify the information GM was sending them and failed to use its authority to hold GM accountable.

NHTSA allowed GM to conduct their own investigation into the ignition switch defect and did not verify any information they were given from GM with their own investigation or follow up questions. They took GM’s word that everything was being executed as it should be and was being taken care of. NHTSA failed to do its part to protect consumers and push for a recall sooner and holding the company accountable.

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Mazda Takata recall, Chicago product liability lawyersThe Takata airbag recall has affected ten car companies and over 30 million vehicles. Mazda announced they are adding an additional 540,000 older vehicles to the recall list. With Takata airbags being used in almost every automotive manufacturer, many are left to wonder if their vehicle will be added to the recall list. Automotive companies and Takata are responsible for the product liability of the defective airbags.

Consumers only have two options with this recall. They can choose to not drive their vehicle until the defective airbag is replaced or they can take the chance and hope they do not get into an accident where the airbag will deploy, possibly killing or injuring themselves or their passengers. Neither option is acceptable and in most cases consumers have no other option that to continue to drive their cars with the defective airbag.

Takata and investigators have not been able to determine which inflator in the airbag design is the cause of the problem. Reports are now saying it is multiple causes. This is an unsatisfactory answer to the largest recall in automotive history. If the company that designed the defective airbag and independent researchers cannot fix the design, consumers are being put at risk longer because the defective airbag will take longer to be replaced.

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Takata airbag recall fines, Chicago personal injury attorneyThe United States is fining Takata Corporation, a Tokyo, Japan based company that manufactures airbags, $14,000 each day due to non-compliance in the investigation into their faulty airbags. Late last year, the National Highway Traffic-Safety Administration (NHTSA) initiated a product recall on vehicles using Takata airbags. The company is responsible for covering product liability to consumers affected by the recall.

With over 7.8 million vehicles affected by the recall, Transportation Secretary Anthony Fox said Takata will be fined each day they do not comply with the investigation and withhold documentation and other materials necessary for the investigation.

Takata gave NHTSA 2.4 million pages of documentation but did not give any guidance or explanation as to what information is in the documents. Employees have to sift through the pages, wasting time, money, and resources that could be spent on other claims and the investigation, to find information they need for the investigation. It is also delaying being able to accurately fix and recall all affected vehicles.

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Posted on in Product Liability

Takata airbag recalls, Chicago product liability lawyerWith 7.8 million U.S. vehicles affected by the recent Takata airbag recall, many people are wondering if their vehicle is affected by the recall and if it is safe to drive. Airbags can deploy, even in low-impact crashes, causing injuries and damage. If your vehicle is affected by the defective airbags, you may be at risk if your airbags deploy and may have a product liability case against the manufacturer.

In light of all the recent rolling recalls, people are also wondering who knew about the defects before the recalls started happening. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issues recalls based on accident, individual, and car manufacturer reports. They did not start investigating Takata airbag defects and issuing recalls until 2009. Alleged evidence from Honda and Takata state they both knew as early as 2004 that there was a defect in the airbags.

In addition to Honda and Takata allegedly knowing about the defects, they did not notify NHTSA about the defects. At a hearing before the House Committee of Energy and Commerce, a Takata executive, Hiroshi Shimizu, would not clearly answer if the airbags were defective, but did apologize for the deaths and injuries.

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