The manufacturers of truck parts have a duty to ensure that their products are safe. They must use proper design methods, good workmanship practices, and take every safety precaution possible to ensure that their products don’t cause accidents.
Defective truck products should be taken off the road before accidents occur – not afterward. But as we know, dangerous products make it to market all the time. When they do, there could be a recall. Truck parts are usually recalled in one of two ways. Either the truck manufacturer recalls the truck part or a federal agency such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration initiates the recall. Most recalls take place because consumers have registered complaints or because lawsuits have been filed due to personal injuries or wrongful deaths.
When a product is recalled, the manufacturer (on its own or at the direction of the NHTSA) should inform the buyers of the product that a recall is necessary and that the truck should not be used until the defect can be repaired or until other arrangements are made – such as the right of the truck owner to return the truck (or truck part) and receive compensation for the value of the truck (or truck part).
A few recent truck recalls
Trucks are often recalled due to defective electrical systems, hydraulic systems, fuel lines, brakes, seatbelts, airbags, and other parts. A few major truck recalls include the following:
- Spartan Fire defective firefighting pumps. According to Autoblog, a recall by Spartan Fire of its 2022-2024 Gladiator, MetroStar, FC-94, and KME Panther fire trucks illustrated a unique danger. Only 166 vehicles were recalled but the danger is that the trucks are designed to put out fires to save lives and property. The defect in the transmission control unit could cause the truck to fail in its overriding purpose to put out fires.
Fortunately, Spartan found the defect during internal testing. The company is in the process of correcting the defect with a software update.
- Tesla semi-truck faulty parking brakes. CNN reported on March 31, 2023, that Tesla recently recalled 35 of its new electric semi-trucks because the parking brake might not work. So far, Tesla says it doesn’t know of any crashes or injuries due to the defect. The defect is due to a “valve module that could leak air,” causing the truck to roll away if the truck driver parks the truck or removes his/her foot from the brake. According to the NTHSA, a parts supplier (Bendix) of Tesla informed Tesla of the danger on February 13, 2023. Tesla investigated the information and issued the recall.
According to CNN, Tesla has faced numerous complaints about its semi-trucks including recalls. Some of the recalls required software updates. Other recalls required mechanical repairs at a service center. Tesla’s semi-trucks are fully electric. Drivers sit in the cab’s center rather than on one side.
- Ram truck recall. ABC News reported in November 2022, that Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler) is recalling nearly 250,000 heavy-duty diesel Ram pickups in America because the transmission fluid could leak causing the engine to catch fire. The recall applies to some 2020 to 2023 Ram 2500 trucks and some 2020 through 2022 Ram 3500 trucks. All trucks subject to the recall have 6.7-liter Cummins diesel engines and 68RFE transmissions.
Stellantis states that the leak can cause heat and pressure to accumulate in the transmission, “expelling fluid from the dipstick tube. If the fluid hits a hot engine part, that can touch off a fire.” The truck manufacturer is working on a repair.
The Ram isn’t the only heavy duty truck facing a recall, either. The NHTSA, according to Motor Biscuit, has been investigating “high-pressure fuel pump failures in diesel-powered Ram 1500 and heavy-duty HD trucks for a while including the CP4 Bosch pump for the 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel engine (the defective product in the Stellantis recall). Other models with the Bosch CP4 pump that also may be subject to a recall include:
- The 2021 to 2022 Jeep Gladiator
- The 2014 to 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee
- The 2020 to 2022 Jeep Wrangler SUV.
- Certain BMW models are also part of the NHTSA investigation
Prior to issuing a recall, the NHTSA typically conducts an engineering analysis.
Who is liable in a collision involving a defective truck part?
There could be many liable parties. The manufacturer is one of them. The victims of truck accidents in Oklahoma City have the right to file a strict liability claim if a defective product causes accidents. There is no need to prove fault. If the product is defective due to faulty design, workmanship, warnings, or instructions and an accident occurs; the manufacturers can be held strictly liable.
If a product has been recalled, however, and the fleet owner or truck operator ignored that recall, then they, too, may be liable for your injuries. There may be times when all three (and potentially even more) entities are liable, so it’s a smart idea to work with an Oklahoma City injury lawyer from the start. We can determine just who is liable, and seek damages on your behalf.
Personal injury victims and the families of loved ones don’t need to show that a defective truck part was subject to a manufacturer or agency recall in order to file a strict liability claim. At Cunningham & Mears, our Oklahoma City truck accident lawyers, we work with truck part engineers and product safety experts to show the truck parts are defective. We work with your doctors to show the truck accident caused your injuries or the death of a loved one. To speak with our experienced truck accident lawyers, call us or use our contact form today to schedule a free initial consultation.
Ryan Y. Cunningham is a founding partner of Cunningham & Mears. Mr. Cunningham devotes his practice to protecting the rights of injured Oklahoma residents. In addition to assisting injured clients, Mr. Cunningham endeavors to improve personal injury representation by speaking on issues related to personal injury law to attorneys in continuing legal education courses and to law students. Learn More