It sounds like something from a Three Stooges movie, maybe a Saturday Night Live skit: you’re driving along and the steering wheel falls off in your hand. Or the air bag deploys as you’re cruising along the freeway. Except that it’s not a comedy on screen. It’s really happening, right now, in America today.
Ford F-150 Pickup Trucks: the Airbag Can Blow Up (Inflate) As You Are Driving
Ford F-150s are very popular pickup trucks and have been for years. Earlier this year, Ford Motor Company issued a voluntary recall of its 2005 and 2006 models of the F-150 trucks, recalling around 144,000 vehicles, because the airbags in these models had problems: short circuits could result from faulty wiring, resulting in the airbags to pop without warning or need — and of course, a surprise of an inflating airbag could cause wrecks and serious injuries and wrongful deaths.
However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has checked into the F-150 Airbag issue and isn’t happy with what Ford has done. Seems the federal regulators suspect that as many as 1,300,000 Ford F-150 pickups have flawed airbags in them. Lots more than 144,000.
In January 2011 the NHTSA wrote Ford, suggesting that the company go ahead and expand its recall to 1.3 million vehicles. Ford hasn’t done it. Ford stubbornly argues that this isn’t a “defect” and that the NHTSA is being a Nervous Nelly. In response, the NHTSA is pointing to its two-year long investigation (begun in 2009), where it’s found 269 of these Ford F-150 surprise airbag deployments, along with one accident and 98 injuries that have included bone fractures, burns and tooth damage. NHTSA expects these numbers to rise unless Ford does something.
The Chevy Cruze Has a Steering Wheel That Can Fall Off While You’re Driving
Meanwhile, over at General Motors, another popular vehicle has proven itself to be dangerous and in need of recall by the manufacturer. The Chevy Cruze has a similar scary problem, from the driver’s perspective: the steering wheel can come off in your hand, while you’re driving. Only one such actual horrific event has happened so far, according to the car maker, and they’ve issued a voluntary recall to fix things.
Americans Cannot Blindly Assume Their Vehicles Are Safe to Drive
Bottom line: you cannot trust your vehicle to be safe to drive. Even if you’ve been driving it for several years, like these Ford truck drivers. Check www.recalls.gov. Check with your dealership. And if you’ve been injured or had a loved one suffer a wrongful death due to a defective product, then call a lawyer. There are laws on the books not only to seek justice for you, but that work toward getting unsafe products out of the American marketplace.
Because, rest assured, part of the reason that Ford doesn’t want that “defect” label is because of concerns about a future lawsuit where it will be held financially accountable.