Toyota Motor Corporation is recalling more than 1 million of its Prius and C-HR compact crossover vehicles globally due to the risk of fire. According to a Bloomberg news report, of the 1.03 million affected vehicles, 192,000 are in the United States. There has been one reported case of a vehicle emitting smoke, but no injuries were reported. An engine wire harness connected to the power control unit could wear over time potentially leading to a short circuit or even a fire, according to a company statement.
The recall affects every one of the current-generation Prius, including a plug-in variant, and the hybrid version of the C-HR made until May of this year. This is one of the largest recalls for Toyota unrelated to the Takata airbag recall or the recall related to suddenly accelerating vehicles in 2009. In 2016, the automaker also recalled 2.87 million cars including Prius models for leaking fuel tanks and an additional 1.43 million Prius vehicles for airbag defects not linked to Takata airbag inflators.
Electric failures and malfunctions are said to be among the leading causes of vehicle fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). In 2015, there were about 174,000 vehicle fires nationwide that resulted in 445 fatalities and 1,550 injuries. If you are involved in a vehicle fire, there are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself and your passengers.
If You Are Involved in a Vehicle Fire
First and foremost, pull over as quickly and as safely as possible. Use your turn signal to make your way to a safe location off the road such as a rest stop or a breakdown lane. Once you have come to a stop, turn the engine off and get everyone out of the car. Everyone should move at least 100 feet from the burning vehicle and well away from traffic. Call 911. Vehicle fires may be prevented with proper vehicle maintenance including by spotting and fixing fuel leaks or loose wiring.
However, when your vehicle is defective, it can be difficult to anticipate problems.
If you have been injured in a vehicle fire caused by a defective part, you may be able to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, rehabilitation and pain and suffering. An experienced auto defect lawyer will be able to offer you more information about pursuing your legal rights.