Vehicle manufacturer Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) recently announced a recall of 122,056 trucks due to issues with the aluminum battery cables. Daimler first became aware of the issue in January 2021, and made the recall announcement at the end of June.
About the truck recall
According to the NHTSA Safety Recall Report, the recalled vehicles are:
- 2019-2022 Freightliner Cascadia P4
- 2021 Western Star WH126
- 2020 Western Star WJ121
- 2021-2022 Western Star 49X
The report notes that, on the affected vehicles, the battery cable terminal can break, causing loss of power that can lead to unintended and sudden engine shutdown. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) describes this safety risk: “Unintended engine shutdown without warning may result in a vehicle being stalled on the roadway which could increase the risk of a vehicle crash.”
Although no injuries or truck accidents are currently reported, DTNA received two reports of engine shutdown; one in January and one in March. According to FreightWaves, an investigation revealed that the likely culprit was an improper sealing of aluminum and brass that allowed debris to make its way into the terminal over time.
The NHTSA report detailed the issue further:
…The largest portion of these events are occurring outside of warranty and parts are being replaced by customers with dealer made copper cables, further complicating DTNA’s effort to understand if there was a defect observed in the field and, if so, what was the population…Despite the uncertainty and the low rate of occurrence, out of an abundance of caution, on June 21, 2021, DTNA reasonably decided to conduct a voluntary recall as set forth in this report.
DTNA plans to notify all truck and fleet owners by mail August 23rd, and will inspect the cables on all affected vehicles for damage or corrosion, replacing or repairing cables free of charge.
Why are vehicle recalls so important?
Originally enacted in 1966, the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act gives the NHTSA authority to issue vehicle safety standards and recall those that do not meet those standards, either through vehicle design or defects. Since the passage of the Act, over 390 million vehicles have been recalled due to safety defects.
The NHTSA states that they require recalls when a motor vehicle or related item (like tires) fails to comply with federal standards, or when there is a defect in the vehicle or related equipment.
What are some common truck part defects?
Commercial trucks are much more complex machines than a passenger vehicle. They rely on a complicated system that requires regular maintenance and a highly-trained driver. If one of these massive vehicles has a defective part, a catastrophic accident could result. Common commercial truck safety defects include:
- Brakes. Essential on every vehicle, brakes are even more important on trucks, which require a greater stopping distance. Brake systems on commercial vehicles are typically more complex than those on passenger vehicles, and any defective part could cause them to fail.
- Engines. If even the smallest part of an engine fails, a trucker could lose control of their rig, potentially causing a deadly crash.
- Hitches and couplings. Most semi-trucks are connected to large trailers through a hitch, or coupling. A defective coupling or hitch can cause this connection to fail, leading to the trailer becoming completely unhitched, or to a jackknife truck accident.
- Straps and tie-downs. Oversized loads and cargo must be properly secured with straps and ties. If these fail, cargo can shift and fall into traffic, causing multi-vehicle accidents.
- Steering systems. A commercial truck’s steering system is also more complex than a passenger vehicle’s. When this malfunctions, a trucker can lose control of their rig and cause a serious crash or collision.
- Tires. An 18-wheeler’s tires are many and crucial. When these tires are defective and come loose or blow out, the resulting accident or road debris can cause serious injuries.
Who is liable for a North Dakota defective truck part accident?
If you are injured in a crash caused by a defective truck part, liability can be complicated. However, your accident attorney can help you sort everything out. Often, with truck accidents and defective parts, multiple parties may be liable. These can include:
- Truck part manufacturer
- Truck part distributor
- Truck part retailer
Potentially, any party involved in the design, manufacture, and sale of the defective part can be held liable for your accident, injuries, and losses. Further, more than one party can be held accountable. Your defective truck part attorney will investigate the circumstances of your accident to determine the cause, who was responsible, and how it could have been prevented.
Here at Larson Law Firm, PC, we work to keep dangerous vehicles off the road and, when they injure someone, ensure it never happens again. If you or a loved one were hurt in a crash caused by defective truck parts, we can help you seek compensation for your injuries. Contact us today at 701-484-HURT, or complete the contact form to schedule a free consultation. We handle accident cases on a contingency fee basis.
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