Toyota Motor Corporation is issuing an auto defect recall for more than 650 2013 Lexus GS 350 cars because of potential flaws with the steering software. According to a Detroit News report, the steering wheel in these vehicles could be “dramatically off-center” because of the software flaws. The steering control programming could cause the steering wheel to become off-centered by a maximum of 110 degrees when restarting immediately after the vehicle is parked with the steering wheel turned. When this occurs and the driver does not realize it, the vehicle could veer in an unexpected direction and crash. Toyota engineers apparently discovered this problem in February during an in-house test drive.

Toyota told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that if the ignition is turned on again shortly after the ignition is turned off, the system may default to 0 degrees. This could cause the steering wheel to become off-centered. The software system was updated on February 23, 2012 to eliminate this problem. Owners are expected to be notified next month.

Vehicle Recall Statistics

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, automakers recalled about 15.5 million vehicles in 2011 compared to 20 million in 2010. Honda and Acura led the list with 3.9 million vehicles recalled while Toyota ranked second with 3.5 million vehicles. Toyota was followed by Ford (3.3 million), Chrysler (773,000) and General Motors (500,000).

Timely Recall is Critical

Based on this news report, the recalled Toyota vehicles could go out of control due to flaws in the steering software. These are no doubt serious auto defects that could result in major injury collisions. Timely recalls of defective vehicles is critical to ensure that these deadly car accidents are prevented. Toyota was fined nearly $50 million by NHTSA for failing to promptly recall millions of vehicles for sudden acceleration problems.

Auto Product Liability Issues

If you have been injured by a defective vehicle, please preserve the vehicle so it can be thoroughly examined by an expert for defects, malfunctions and other evidence. Injured victims can seek compensation from the vehicle manufacturer for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, cost of hospitalization, rehabilitation and pain and suffering. Victims would be well advised to seek the counsel of an experienced California personal injury lawyer who has successfully handled auto products liability cases against large automakers.