Toyota, General Motors, & Continental Tires announce safety-related tire and vehicle recalls

by Eric Pearson

Toyota Air Bag Recall

Toyota Motor is recalling some 752,000 vehicles in the U.S. as a result of air bags that can improperly inflate. The air bag recall includes Corolla and Corolla Matrix cars in the U.S that were manufactured between December 2001 and May 2004. Some 141,000 vehicles in Canada are also part of the recall.

According to Toyota, the airbag control module for the supplemental restraint system in the Corolla and Corolla Matrix vehicles could have been manufactured with faulty circuit boards. If it malfunctions, it could cause a short, causing a buildup of heat or potentially causing the airbags or seat belt pretensioners to deploy when there hasn’t been a crash.

The air bags inadvertently inflate when the vehicle’s electronic signals damage a chip in the part that controls the air bag. Under the recall, the part will be corrected to be able to block such signals.

A Toyota spokesperson has acknowledged two crashes were reported in the U.S. related to the air bag problem, but Toyota had not been able to confirm them. However, Toyota has confirmed 18 cases in the U.S. of abrasion-type injuries from the air bag problem.

General Motors Potential Roll-Away Recall

General Motors Co. is recalling certain Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana full-size vans from the 2013 model year because of problems with their ignition lock systems that could lead to the vehicles rolling away while unattended.

The recall includes Express vans built from Nov. 1 through Dec. 21, 2012; and GMC Savana vehicles built from Nov. 14 through November 20, 2012. In these vehicles it may be possible to remove the ignition key from its slot while the engine is running or when the transmission is not in the “park” position. The interlocking mechanism between the ignition and transmission, which is a standard safety feature throughout the U.S. auto industry, is supposed to keep the key from being removed unless the vehicle is in park and the engine is off.

Continental Tire Motorcycle Tire Recall

Continental Tire is recalling certain ContiMotion motorcycle tires, size 180/60R16 M/C 74H produced from December 19, 2010, through September 24, 2011. The tires were sold as replacement equipment for Honda GoldWing 1800 motorcycles.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, some of these tires may experience uneven wear, groove cracking, and belt lift. This could result in a loss of inflation pressure. A loss of inflation pressure while riding could cause the motorcycle operator to lose control, increasing the risk of a crash.

HO&P: Vehicle and Tire Defect Litigation

Car, truck and tire manufacturers have a duty to build a product that is as safe as is reasonably possible under the present state of mechanical technology, vehicle design, and safety. Manufacturers are obligated to design vehicles and tires so that they are safe for any reasonably foreseeable use.

A lawsuit against a car or truck manufacturer could involve issues with air bags, child seats, glass, fuel fires, seat belts, rollover, tire failure, or roof crush as well as other potential problem areas. A lawsuit against a tire manufacturer could involve issues concerning premature wear and failure, tread separation, a blowout, or rollover accident.

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a car accident, it may well be that the injuries were caused or made worse because the vehicle was not properly designed or manufactured. In order to determine whether you may have a case, you need to retain experienced, qualified legal counsel at the earliest opportunity.

At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, we have the experience, knowledge and expertise to pursue a product liability or personal injury claim against any of the major auto and tire manufacturers.

To speak with a lawyer about your case, contact Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out our free case evaluation form.

by Eric Pearson

Eric Pearson is a licensed attorney and a partner at HO&P who handles commercial and personal injury lawsuits. Eric has been selected to the Super Lawyers List, a Thomson Reuters publication.