General Motors is recalling almost 3.5 million SUVs and pickup trucks because their brakes may suddenly become very difficult to use. According to Consumer Reports, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been investigating the problem for nearly 10 months. GM has been repairing the affected vehicles since December 2018 and issued a recall in Canada in June.
The recall involves some of the automaker’s top-selling vehicle such as the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks as well as the Chevy Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Chevy Suburban, and Cadillac Escalade SUVs. NHTSA launched the investigation into this auto defect in November 2018 after it received 111 consumer complaints. A GM spokesman told Consumer Reports that the company is so far aware of 113 crashes and 13 injuries due to this problem. No deaths have been reported.
Dangerous Braking Issues
The recalled vehicles have a problem with the brake-assist system, which reduces the amount of effort a driver needs to exert in order to stop the vehicle. If this system fails, the driver may find that he or she needs to apply a lot more effort to push the brake pedal. The stopping distance for the vehicle may also considerably increase. This could potentially lead to a crash, officials said.
The problem is reportedly more likely to take place at lower speeds such as in parking lots or when approaching crosswalks. Many consumers said in their complaints that the brakes suddenly felt different when they were maneuvering their way into a parking spot or slowing down for a pedestrian.
GM warns that drivers may notice some irregularities in these vehicles such as a vibrating brake pedal, change in the amount of pressure needed to push the brake pedal, a ticking noise from the engine compartment or a Service Brake Assist message on the dashboard instrument cluster. GM dealers will reprogram the braking software at no charge to owners.
Auto Product Liability Issues
Auto safety advocates question the timing of this recall because a recall was issued back in June for Canadian owners. They are also asking for how long GM knew about this problem before NHTSA launched its investigation. GM should have recalled these vehicles sooner – not after more than 100 crashes related to the problem. Brake defects can result in catastrophic or even fatal injuries. These vehicles could result in deadly injuries for pedestrians and bicyclists as well.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of these or other auto defects, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries, damages and losses. Contact an experienced auto defect lawyer who will be able to protect your legal rights and options.