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Mercedes Recalls 47,799 Vehicles; SUV Airbags Could Fail in Crash

Vehicle Recalls, NHTSA, Mercedes Recalls, Benz Recalls

Mercedes Recalls 47,799; SUV Airbags Could Fail in Crash

A glitch in the Mercedes-Benz Occupant Classification System (OCS) software found in 47,799 of their SUVs, has led the German luxury automaker to announce their first recall of 2017 in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). According to U.S. authorities, faulty sensors in the SUVs OCS can cause the system to believe a child seat has been installed when it has not, which automatically disengages the passenger-side airbags. This deactivation can cause an increased risk of injury in the vehicles made by Daimler AG, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz.

Available recall documents do not show if any injuries have occurred at the time of the recall. The Mercedes-Benz SUVs in question were manufactured between April 2014 and May 2016 (model years 2016 & 2017). Several different iterations of the GL, GLE, and GLS SUVs are affected, but most notably this is the seventh recall of the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE. The other six were all smaller in scale, but in one nearly 6,000 GLE 450 SUVs were recalled because of a software glitch that allegedly could cause the engine to turn off while the vehicle was being driven.


Mercedes Benz Recalls


In 2016 Mercedes was forced to recall nearly one million of their vehicles because each one was equipped with a dangerous Takata airbag inflator, which could kill the occupants that the life saving devices were meant to protect. Mercedes-Benz USA agreed to pay their dealers $325 to $1,775 per recalled vehicle (per month) until they are fixed. The company also announced that consumers who currently own one of their recalled 2013 or 2014 vehicles with a Takata airbag can receive $2,000 towards a new Mercedes-Benz (model years 2012 and earlier may still be eligible for up to $1,000).

Owners of a recently recalled Mercedes-Benz SUV will be contacted directly by the company later this month, but consumers who may have purchased their recalled SUV used will need to contact the automaker directly. The company told authorities that the SUVs will be fixed by updating the sensor’s software and in the interim a warning message will appear on the dashboard informing the driver that the passenger-side airbags are not working.

To see if your Mercedes-Benz SUV has been recalled see:

To contact Mercedes-Benz call: (800) 367-6372

Ford Brakes May Fail; U.S. Authorities Probe 475,000 Vehicles

Orlando Product Liability & Consumer Justice Law Firm, Lawyers & Attorneys Near Me, Orlando Florida Attorneys, Find a Lawyer, Attorney Search

Ford Brakes May Fail; U.S. Authorities Probe 475,000 Vehicles Before the start of 2017 the National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation over concerns that some Ford brakes could suddenly stop working. At the time of the announcement consumers had filed 141 complaints that their brake pedals went “soft,” allowing them to push the […]

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NHTSA Reports Another Uptick in Traffic Fatalities: Will Advanced Technology be the Solution or Cause More Problems?

NHTSA Reports Another Uptick in Traffic Fatalities: Will Advanced Technology be the Solution or Cause More Problems?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), US traffic fatalities in the first half of 2016 (17,775) represented a 10.4% increase from those reported in the first half of 2015 (16,100).  The second quarter of 2016 was the seventh consecutive calendar quarter of increases compared to the prior year’s quarter.

What makes these statistics even more alarming is the fact that the 10.4% fatality rise in 2016’s first half far exceeded the 3.3% growth in vehicle miles during that same period.

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Self-Driving Vehicles and Federal Preemption

Tesla car, Tesla Motors, Tesla Model S, Autonomous Vehicles, Driverless Cars, Elon Musk

Yesterday, Tesla confirmed that the government is actively investigating the first reported fatality involving the company’s “auto-pilot” technology.  The fatal crash occurred on May 6 in Williston, Florida, claiming the life of former Navy SEAL Joshua Brown.  According to Tesla’s public statement about the crash, the car’s autopilot feature failed to notice the white side of a tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky.  As a result, the software failed to apply the brakes, and the car’s windshield struck the bottom of the trailer.

As we have previously written, “autonomous” or “self-driving” automotive technology has the capability to save lives, if implemented correctly.  A self-driving vehicle should theoretically perform better than a human driver if it operates according to a computer code that properly accounts for the surrounding environment and changes in traffic conditions.  However, when technology reaches the market before it is ready, software bugs and design flaws may go unnoticed until it is too late.  We’ve all had a computer crash unexpectedly.  Now imagine if that computer was supposed to be making the call as to when to apply the brakes during rush hour.

Well-developed negligence and strict products liability law already provide the best solution for those instances where self-driving technology fails and results in injury or death.  Under a negligence or strict liability theory, the manufacturer would be held accountable if a design defect caused or contributed to the crash.  The determination as to whether the software had a defect would, in turn, be made in the same manner that these kinds of determinations have always been made—by a civil jury.

Time and time again, the civil jury system has proven the best way to get to the truth in product defect cases.  Each and every automotive crash is unique, and the determination as to whether a product had a defect that played into a crash must necessarily be made only after carefully reviewing the circumstances of that particular crash.  The jury system allows for this type of case-by-case analysis to be conducted in open court, with each party having a fair opportunity to present their claims and defenses.

Unfortunately, auto manufacturers are now actively lobbying federal lawmakers to strip citizens of their rights to a jury trial should they find themselves in the same predicament as the Brown family.  Their weapon of choice in this regard is federal preemption.  Specifically, they are seeking what could be an often-times insurmountable defense whereby regulations implemented by Washington bureaucrats would forever trump the right of any individual citizen involved in a self-driving vehicle crash from seeking relief in the courts.

Earlier this year, the US Department of Transportation announced that it was working on guidance with respect to self-driving vehicle technology.  Since then, both the DOT and the Senate have held hearings in Washington to address the issue.  The DOT guidance is supposed to be released sometime this month.

Stay tuned.  We will continue to monitor and provide updates on the key legal and regulatory battles with respect to self-driving vehicles as they unfold.

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Chrysler Rollaway Tragedy Highlights Problems with Emerging Car Technology

Orlando Product Liability & Consumer Justice Law Firm, Lawyers & Attorneys Near Me, Orlando Florida Attorneys, Find a Lawyer, Attorney Search

The untimely death of young actor Anton Yelchin, whose 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled away and pinned him against a brick pillar, has highlighted yet another major recall addressing yet another major automotive safety defect. Specifically, the investigation into Mr. Yelchin’s death is now focusing on whether the shifter defect at the heart of Chrysler’s […]

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Seat Back Collapse Litigation: Alive and Well

Local Lawyers & Attorneys, Lawyers & Attorneys Near Me

During the past several months, our firm has reviewed several new potential cases involving seat back collapse. These cases all involved relatively late model vehicles where the seat backs collapsed in a moderate speed rear end crash, resulting in severe spinal cord injuries. Seat back collapse litigation has been ongoing between injured consumers and the […]

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The Takata Airbag Defect: What Florida’s Consumer Advocates Need to Know. – William C. Ourand, Esq.

Takata Update, Takata News, Deployed Airbag, Takata Airbag Scandal, Takatagate, Florida Airbag Attorney, Orlando Airbag Lawyer, Orlando Product Liability Lawyers

Florida is the “epicenter” of the Takata airbag debacle which has resulted in the largest automotive recall in U.S. history. Unfortunately, all signs indicate that the severe injuries and deaths will continue into the foreseeable future. The roadways remain flooded with millions of vehicles which may still be equipped with the potentially lethal airbags. Moreover, […]

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Harley Davidson Recalls More than 19,000 Motorcycles

Every month, the NHTSA announces several vehicle recalls, most of them sedans, trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Many times these recalls are small and only affect a few hundred vehicles. Other recalls, like a Chrysler recall that occurred last month, are large and affect anywhere from hundreds of thousands to more than a million vehicles. While passenger vehicle recalls are common, motorcycle recalls aren’t as common.

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