The Safety Institute’s Vehicle Safety Watch List Analytics and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Enforcement Monitoring Program alerts the public to potential vehicle safety issues on a quarterly basis. In memory of Brooke Melton, who was killed in a 2010 accident resulting from a sudden ignition failure in her 2005 Chevy cobalt, Ken and Beth Melton, her parents, sponsor the program.
Last month, the Safety Institute issued its latest Vehicle Safety Watch List report covering the fourth quarter of 2018. This is currently the latest available quarterly report covering NHTSA’s enforcement and recall activities as well as potential vehicle defect trends. The Safety Watch List comprises a list of vehicles reported issues that may require further investigation and suggest how resources should be applied to deal with potential auto part defects and the threats they pose to public safety. The information provided in the list is based on Death and Injury Claims in the Early Warning Reports System to the NHTSA.
Some of the potential emerging problems and identifiable failures in the current U.S. fleet are summarized below. In addition, some of the reported vehicle issues also accompany a manufacturer recall which is specified on the Watch List.
Ford Explorer carbon monoxide issues
Late model Ford Explorers have a strong presence on the list in the last quarter of 2018 as they have for the previous six quarters. They dominate the list under the engine and engine cooling categories. The 2017, 2015, 2016, and 2013 Explorers occupy first, second, seventh, and eighth places on the list respectively. Complaints as recent as late December 2018 assert that these vehicles are continuing to disperse carbon monoxide into the cabin of the SUV.
Subaru braking issue with EyeSight Driver Assist Technology
A new potential defect trend has emerged in the Subaru Outback (model years 2016 and 2018) that concerns unintended braking issues. The braking problems are linked with the forward collision feature that is an element of the vehicles’ EyeSight Driver Assist Technology. The Outback 2016 and 2018 models occupy the 13th and 14th spots on the Vehicle Safety Watch List respectively. Unintended brake application seems to be one of the most prominent malfunctions in the system, according to NHTSA VOQs and complaints in drivers’ forums.
Honda Odyssey seat locking issue
The Honda Odyssey claims three spots on the Safety Watch List, now having landed on the list for the fifth consecutive quarter. Model years 2013, 2015, and 2016 occupy the 12th, fourth, and ninth spots respectively. Honda has recalled its minivans two times previously in the month of December – once in 2016 in another time in 2017. The company recalled over 806,000 of its 2011-2016 minivans over a second row seating issue in which the seating would not latch in place or was susceptible to tipping over.
For parents with children seated and strapped into the second row of these vehicles, the malfunction of these seats has presented a serious concern. As well, complaints about the unavailability of repair parts have continued.
Toyota Sienna minivan power sliding door defect
For the second quarter in a row, the Toyota Siena minivan appeared on the Safety Watch List for a power sliding door defect – the 2013 model is ranked 11th on the list. The issue may be connected to a recall of nearly 750,000 Siennas (model years 2011-2016) in November 2016 regarding the issue of the vehicles’ doors sliding open suddenly as the vehicle travels forward.
The 2017 Audi 4 moved up from the 11th to the fifth position on the Safety Watch List despite no discernible trends in a small number of complaints issued regarding structural problems vehicle. The same is true for the 2015 and 2016 Volkswagen Golf which is listed third and 10th on the list respectively. The NHTSA has only received a small number of complaints regarding both vehicles, some of which involve exploding sun roofs.
If your vehicle is under a recall, the manufacture will make the necessary repairs for you at no cost, provide and install free replacement parts as required, or issue you a refund for your vehicle. However, these free services provided by the manufacturer will not compensate you for any injuries you may have sustained due to the defect.
If you have suffered an injury due to a defective auto part, you need the experienced Phoenix auto product liability lawyers at Plattner Verderame, P.C. to support you with intelligent and determined representation. We can fight through any challenges to your claim for the financial compensation you deserve. To set up a free consultation about your case, call us today at 602.783.8793 or use our contact form to send us a message.