Several large automakers announced recalls this week. Toyota and Nissan are two of the manufacturers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Toyota is recalling approximately 615,000 Sienna minivans in the US over concerns that even without depressing the brake pedal, the automatic transmission could move out of “park,” which may up the chance of a rollaway accident. The automaker’s Sienna is the number two selling minivan in this country.
The Toyota Siennas affected are from model years 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2009. The vehicles were made at the automaker’s Indiana plant. Another 56,000 of these vehicles were sold in Mexico, Canada, Guatemala, and Germany.
The safety issue involves the minivan’s gearshift lever, which might sustain damage to its shift lock solenoid. Should this occur and the driver happens to move the lever from Park, a rollaway incident may take place even without the brake being depressed. Already, Toyota has received reports of 21 “minor” accidents in the US involving this safety problem, with two people sustaining minor injuries.
Rollaway problems have been an issue for several car manufacturers this year. Honda recalled 800,000 vehicles nearly a year ago. There were reportedly Odyssey minivans, Pilot SUVs, and Acura MDX SUVs at risk of rolling away even after the key had been taken out of the ignition. Honda and General Motors also faced rollaway problems.
Vehicle rollaways can be very dangerous. A car can cause serious injuries should a backover accident take place and there is a child or adult standing behind the vehicle.
A rollaway incident may also lead to a serious traffic accident if the car rolls into moving traffic. If there is a child or another passenger left in the vehicle when a rollaway occurs, this could prove catastrophic for him/her. A rollaway accident going downhill also could lead to serious injuries and even deaths.
Meantime, Nissan Motor Co. also has announced a large recall, this one involving 908,900 autos globally—about 98,000 in the US. The autos were made between 2004 and 2013. The safety issue is a defective accelerator sensor that could cause engine problems. While certain Infiniti M models are the only autos impacted in the US—other autos affected elsewhere are certain of Nissan’s Serena X-Trail, Fuga, and Lafesta vehicles.
Problems may arise should the sensor of the accelerator pedal become unstable, leading to a lower level of acceleration than the driver intended or a stalled engine. Obviously, it could prove dangerous if a motorist cannot accelerate his/her vehicle to the speed intended—especially if the situation on the road warrants this.
Nissan’s recall announcement comes just a few weeks after the news that NHTSA is investigating Nissan’s Infiniti JX35 and Nissan Pathfinder, both 2013 models, following complaints by consumers that there was a transmission cooler line failure. This also could lead to a recall.
Auto Products Liability
The Gilbert Law Group® is an auto products liability law firm that represents victims (and their families) that were injured in a motor vehicle accident involving auto defects. A vehicle does not have to have been recalled first for you to have grounds for a product defect claim if an auto malfunction or faulty auto part contributed to your injury accident or the wrongful death of a loved one. Contact our products liability lawyers today.