Car parts suppliers are stepping up quality control efforts and the traceability of their components in the wake of an unprecedented wave of auto safety recalls and huge fines against manufacturers, The Wall Street Journal reports. Many suppliers seem to be investing in new and improved equipment to better automate defect detection and are assigning more employees to do part checks. For example, Daicel Corporation, which manufactures airbag inflators, has invested millions of dollars to enhance its system for tracking inflators shipped to customers.
The Move to Improve Quality
The airbag inflators are the explosive devices that pump up the airbag in the event of a crash. Daicel has apparently acquired the capability of carving letters data onto tiny metal parts such as when and where the parts were made. Daicel used to attach bar codes to many parts, but some pieces were too small to do so. Company officials say their priority is to be able to immediately identify the range of potentially problematic products, should a safety issue arise.
Aisin Seiki Company, the world’s fifth largest automotive supplier, is also spending tens of millions of dollars to boost quality. It traditionally relied on experienced employees to detect and fix issues, but now the company has purchased new devices to catch that problem and cut the defect rate by two-thirds. These moves were largely prompted by the Takata airbag recall that led to the recall of millions of vehicles manufactured by various automakers. The explosive airbags were linked to several deaths and scores of injuries.
Auto Product Liability Issues
It is about time that these parts suppliers put these measures in place to ensure consumer safety. The reality of the auto industry is that safety devices such as airbags, seatbelts and other vehicle components are made by these global suppliers. That’s why traceability of the components is an important issue.
If you have been injured as the result of a defective auto part, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the auto part maker as well as the car manufacturer. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages. Families of deceased victims can also seek compensation by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. In such cases, it is particularly critical that victims and families contact an auto defect law firm that has the resources to thoroughly and independently investigate vehicle defects and hold negligent automakers accountable.
Ford has issued a vehicle defect recall for select 2014 models of the Ford Escape and 2015 models of the Lincoln MKC.
According to a report in The Car Connection, some of those vehicles may have fuel pump defects that could cause the devices to fail in traffic.
Documents filed with NHTSA show that contamination, due to improper nickel plating of certain components in the fuel pump, may cause excessive pump friction, potentially resulting in fuel pump failure.
This could happen at any time, which means that owners might find suddenly that their car won’t …Read the rest »
Unibright Foods, based in Bell Gardens in Los Angeles County, has recalled nearly 50,000 pounds of frozen, ready-to-eat beef and pork products that could possibly be contaminated with metal fragments.
According to a CBS Los Angeles news report, the company recalled 48,139 pounds of Mishima Sukiyaki Beef and Mishima Gingered Pork.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials said the products were shipped to retailers and institutions in seven states including California, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, New York and New Jersey.
The beef and pork both bear the establishment number …Read the rest »
Subaru is recalling nearly 199,000 vehicles for the second time because the first recall was not successful.
According to a report on Carcomplaints.com, in July 2014, Subaru recalled 660,000 vehicles to repair rusted brake lines that could cause a complete loss of braking.
That recall included vehicles that were originally recalled in April 2013 for the same brake like issue.
Now, 199,000 of the vehicles recalled in July 2014 need to be fixed again.
The models included in this recall are the …Read the rest »
Ford is recalling about 13,500 2015 Lincoln MKC vehicles because drivers are shutting them off by mistake. According to a news report on CNN Money, drivers are mistakenly touching the crossover SUV’s push-button ignition button while the car is driving. The MKC has buttons to put the car in different gears as opposed to a traditional gear shift. However, drivers who are reaching for the “S” button to put the vehicle on “sport” mode are sometimes hitting the adjacent start-stop button.
This button is also right next to the touch screen that controls the radio, Bluetooth phone control and the navigation system. According to a letter from one car owner to federal regulators, a passenger reaching for the radio had pushed the on-off button accidentally. This caused the car to come to a sudden stop as if he had slammed on the brakes. When the recall begins, Ford will remove the location of the start-stop button and reprogram the power train controls to repair the problem. Ford officials say they are not aware of any crashes of injuries that have occurred as a result of the problem.
The Danger of Vehicle Stalling
When cars are inadvertently shut off suddenly when they are in motion, there is a serious safety hazard. This problem is at the center of the General Motors ignition switch recall, which has been linked to at least 42 deaths. In GM’s case, the design flaw was in a key ignition rather than a push button. GM has been accused of covering up these serious ignition defects for more than a decade. The issue is the subject of a criminal investigation.
Auto Product Liability Issues
If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a dangerous or faulty auto, please remember that you have legal rights. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Families that have lost loved ones can seek compensation by filing a wrongful death claim. Victims or families in such cases would be well advised to contact an experienced product liability attorney who has successfully handled similar cases against large automakers.
A construction company with offices in Irvine is one of several companies cited for safety violations that state officials say led to the death of a worker when a bridge was demolished as part of a widening project on the 91 Freeway. According to a news report in the Orange County Register, the California Department of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has fined the general contractor as well as a subcontractor hired to take down a railroad overpass near 14th Street in downtown Riverside. The man who was killed was working on the bridge.
Fatal Incident on Bridge Project
SEMA Construction that has a regional office in Irvine was fined $54,935 for four violations, three of them classified as “serious.” Subcontractor Hard Rock Equipment Rentals of Corona faces penalties of $50,850 that are linked to seven violations, six of them serious. The accident in question occurred on May 18 when a bridge section collapsed onto empty eastbound lanes. An employee of Hard Rock Equipment Rentals tethered to the structure by a safety harness was catapulted onto the pavement. The worker, Okesene Faasalele, 59, of Long Beach, died from injuries suffered.
Serious Safety Violations
Hard Rock apparently used a Caterpillar front-end loader for something it was not designed to do, to anchor a section of the bridge. The loader was carrying more weight than it could handle and got pulled in the direction of the bridge as the victim was torch cutting the last floor beam. The portion of the bridge connected to the loader fell 22 feet taking the victim with it.
Both companies have appealed the fines. Although the victim worked for the subcontractor, Cal/OSHA has maintained that the general contractor had an obligation to ensure safety for the entire project. Cal/OSHA cited SEMA for violations including failure for not having a contingency plan for an unplanned bridge collapse, failure to communicate the need for a fall protection plan with subcontractor supervisors, failure to include procedures for correcting unsafe work practices and for not identifying the hazard of cutting floor I-beams on the bridge.
Third Party Claim
When a worker is killed in an on-the-job accident, his family can seed workers’ compensation death benefits. However, it is a fact that workers’ compensation benefits in California are woefully inadequate when it comes to compensating a family for losing a primary or sole wage earner. In such cases, victims’ families may be able to file a third-party claim against a party other than the employer whose negligence may have caused or contributed to the fatal incident. An experienced Orange County personal injury attorney who has successfully handled third party claims will be able to help victims or their families better understand their legal rights and options.