Ford has announced a safety defect recall for about 33,000 of its 2013 C-Max models after tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that the vehicles did not meet federal safety standards.
According to a report in the New York Times, the vehicles affected by the recall were built in Wayne, Michigan, between January 19, 2012 and June 26, 2013 and do not have the optional panoramic roof. So far, the automaker says, no injuries or crashes have been reported as a result of the problem.
Federal Standards for Head Protection
When the recall begins, Ford will install a plastic energy absorber between the headliner and the roof on each side of the vehicle to provide more cushioning. It is not clear why the standard system was inadequate. The problem was discovered by the safety agency while testing to see whether the C-Max meets a portion of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 201 that deals with reducing injuries from cranial contact with the interior of the roof during a crash.
Automakers are not penalized when compliance problems are found, if the automaker had reason to believe that it had complied with the F.M.V.S.S and if it takes timely action to address the safety issues once it is identified. Starting in September 1998, automakers were required to provide the type of head protection specified in Standard 201.
The agency passed this requirement after determining that doing nothing about passenger head protection would result in 2,200 fatalities and 13,600 moderate to critical injuries each year.
Is Your Vehicle Crashworthy?
A vehicle is said to be “crashworthy” when it prevents or minimizes serious injuries and fatalities in the event of a crash through the use of vehicle safety systems. A crashworthy vehicle will increase the occupants’ chance of survival, minimize the risk of injury, prevent the ejection of occupants, restrain occupants and prevent fires after a vehicle crashes.
If your vehicle failed to protect you in the event of a crash, you may have a product liability claim against the automaker. In such cases, it is important that injured victims and their families preserve the vehicle so that an expert can thoroughly examine it for potential auto defects, design flaws and other evidence. An experienced auto product liability lawyer will be able to fight for your rights and hold negligent manufacturers accountable for their defective vehicles.