Defective Auto Products Comments Off
Toyota is recalling about 310,000 of its FJ Cruiser SUVs, the majority of which were sold in the United States, due to defective seatbelts. According to an NBC news report, the problem involves seatbelts that could fail due to excessive wear and use.
Toyota explained in a statement that the seatbelt retractors for the driver and front passenger seatbelts are mounted on the rear door of vehicles. Due to the insufficient strength of the rear door panel, cracks may develop over a period of time if the rear door is repeatedly and forcefully closed, the Japanese automaker said.
This latest recall involves 310,000 of the vehicles, which covers the 2007 through 2013 mode years. Of those vehicles, 209,000 were sold in the United States and another 52,000 were sold in the Middle East. Other countries involved in the recall include China, Australia and Canada. Toyota will notify owners once it comes up with a specific solution for the problem. This recall comes less than two months after Toyota recalled more than 1 million vehicles due to problems with defective airbags and windshield wipers.
Toyota Safety Recalls
Toyota has created for itself a reputation for quality and long-term reliability. But that was shaken to the core when the automaker recalled millions of vehicles for sticky gas pedals and faulty floor mats that caused sudden acceleration problems. In 2012 alone, Toyota recalled 3.9 million vehicles for safety issues. In addition, the automaker has been slapped with millions of dollars in fines for failing to meet federal recall guidelines.
When seatbelts have the potential to fail in any vehicle, the occupants are exposed to significant danger. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2010, 61 percent of the 10,647 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed in night car crashes were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the fatal crash, compared to 42 percent during the daytime hours. Any way you analyze the numbers, it will quickly become apparent that seatbelts have played a significant role in bringing down the number of fatal car accidents in the United States over the last two decades.
Product Liability Issues
When seatbelt failure causes injuries to vehicle occupants, the injured victims can file a product liability claim against the automaker and/or the maker of the seatbelt. Injured victims can seek compensation to cover medical expenses, lost earnings, cost of hospitalization, rehabilitation and pain and suffering. Families of deceased victims can seek compensation by filing a wrongful death claim. An experienced auto product liability attorney can help injured victims and their families better understand their legal rights and options in such cases.