Barely weeks after agreeing to an unprecedented criminal penalty for hiding safety defects from consumers, Toyota Motor Corporation has announced a global recall of nearly 6.4 million vehicle for problems with airbags or seats that could move in a crash.
According to a report in The New York Times, the recall includes nearly 1.8 million vehicles in the United States.
This recall comes at a time when General Motors is facing a criminal investigation over its decade-long failure to recall millions of cars to fix an ignition issue that has been linked to 13 deaths.
Toyota’s recall covers many models and years going back as far as 2006.
Last month the U.S. Department of Justice imposed a $1.2 billion criminal penalty on the Japanese automaker after discovering that the company deliberately hid information about safety defects that caused sudden or unintended acceleration in several vehicle models.
Toyota officials said they do not know of any injuries or deaths related to either defect.
Of the vehicles being recalled in the United States, Toyota said it would service 1.3 million to fix the air bag defect and 472,500 vehicles to fix their seats.
Problems with Airbags and Seats
Its recall now includes the 2009-10 Corolla, 2009-10 Matrix, 2008-10 Highlander, 2009-10 Tacoma, 2006-8 RAV4 and 2006-10 Yaris vehicles.
The defect involves an electrical connection with a spiral cable assembly that “could become damaged when the steering wheel is turned.” That would illuminate an air bag warning light and could disable the driver’s air bag.
The second recall involves a problem with the seat rails for the driver’s and some front passenger seats.
The springs that help lock the seat into position after it is moved forward or back may break, preventing the seat from being locked, Toyota said.
Auto Product Liability Issues
Both of these auto defects have the potential to cause serious or even life-threatening injuries. When you are involved in a collision and your airbag fails to deploy, devastating or even fatal injuries could occur. Your seat not being locked in can give rise to dangerous situations as well.
For example, if your vehicle is hit head-on and your seat is not locked into place, the seat is going to slam forward in the collision, carrying you in the direction of the collision force. In the event of a rear-end collision, the seat could move backward causing catastrophic injuries.
These are serious defects that could result in brain injury, spinal cord trauma and paralysis. Anyone who owns these vehicles would be well advised to see their dealer right away and ensure that the repairs are carried out immediately.
If you have been injured as a result of these dangerous or defective vehicles, please contact an auto product liability lawyer to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.