Over the last several decades, automobile technology has changed dramatically. Most vehicles are now controlled by a complex network of computers and electronics. These computers are meant to make the vehicles more reliable. However, they can malfunction, leading to unpredictable safety problems that can cause serious car accidents.
An example of this issue can be found in the recent recall of almost 250,000 Honda and Acura vehicles. The cars were recalled after reports of electronic stability control malfunctions, in which the vehicles would stop or slow even if the driver was not applying the brakes. Drivers who have been affected by this problem reported that the braking was prolonged and that it felt like something was taking control of the vehicle.
Approximately 183,000 of the recalled vehicles were sold in the United States. They include the 2005 models of the Honda Pilot, Acura MDX and Acura RL, as well as the 2006 Acura MDX.
Honda and Acura are not the only manufacturers to face this problem. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has also received more than 500 complaints about unintended braking in some Mercedes-Benz SUVs.
Automotive defect lawsuits
All drivers should take this issue as a reminder of the importance to stay aware of vehicle recalls and to follow through on recall notices. Vehicle manufacturers do not take recalls lightly, so if one has been issued it is likely because there is a serious risk of a safety problem.
However, it is important to remember that dangerous automotive defects can exist even if there has not been a recall. This is especially true when it comes to vehicles' computer systems, partly because the technology is so new and partly because there are no mandatory safety requirements for vehicle electronic systems. The International Organization for Standardization put forth a voluntary standard in 2011, but many are calling on U.S. regulators to impose similar mandatory requirements on automakers.
When a car accident happens because of one of these defects, injured victims have a right to hold negligent vehicle manufacturers accountable. Victims can pursue product liability lawsuits to recover compensation for losses including medical expenses, lost wages, disability and pain and suffering.
After an accident, it isn't always clear whether a vehicle defect played a role. In many cases, it is easier to place the blame on a simple act of driver negligence. But, when serious injuries are at issue, automotive defect lawsuits offer victims opportunities for recovery that most driver negligence claims do not.
For that reason, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney after a serious car accident. The attorney will be able to investigate the circumstances of the crash to determine exactly where the fault might lie.