In 2019, we wrote about a college student who was killed because of a missing $3 truck part. The story captured our attention because of its tragic nature, but also because it was an outlier: when you think of defective truck parts, washers don’t usually top the list. Most of the time, people assume it will be the tires or the air brakes, since they tend to get a lot of coverage.
But that isn’t always the case. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) runs two different reports each month: one on vehicle and parts recalls/noncompliance notices, and one on ongoing investigations.
Ongoing NHTSA investigations in May 2020
As of May 2020, there are five ongoing investigations into commercial trucking parts. The basis of these investigations includes:
- CNG Fuel System Integrity
- PNDB Electrical Power Distribution
- Vehicle Roll Away
- mDRIVE Transmission Failure to Disengage
- Loss of Power Steering Assist
Fuel system, electrical system, two transmission failures, and steering failure: not a single investigation into brakes or tires this month or even this year. In fact, the only additional investigation launched in 2020 into a commercial truck involved defective window wipers.
Recalls and noncompliance notices in May 2020
Recalls by truck manufacturers tell a similar story: fuel system problems, loss of steering, engine stalls, etc. There are two exceptions, though: Navistar Inc. and Autocar, LLC both issued noticed of upcoming recalls related to brake failure and loss of Automatic Traction Control, respectively.
Why this information matters
There are three important pieces of information to be gathered from these reports, aside from the overall fact that some tucks have defective parts:
- Some of the NHTSA investigations have been going on for years. Most of the investigations are new, but the very first one on the list for May began in March 2006, and has not yet been closed.
- Not all recall notices are issued immediately upon finding a defect. In fact, both Navistar and Autocar don’t plan on issuing their recall notices until July, and the NHTSA reports that one of Navistar’s recalls doesn’t have a remedy yet.
- Not all recalls lead to an investigation by the NHTSA. This is not to say all recalls should; if a company recognizes a dangerous part, institutes a recall, and fixes the defective pieces, then the NHTSA may not need to be involved at all.
What happens if I’m hurt in a truck accident resulting from a defective part?
If a defective 18-wheeler part results in a crash that leads to your injuries, or to the death of your loved one, you can file a lawsuit against the responsible party. Depending on the nature of the accident, as well as the type of defective, multiple parties could be held legally liable:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The company which assembles the trucks
- The part manufacturer
For example, if a wire comes loose and it causes the truck’s engine to stall without warning, then the manufacturer of the part may be held liable, and so could the trucking company if the defect or issue was something a supervisor should have picked up on during an inspection.
No matter what the cause of the truck accident is, it is important that you work with an experienced Oklahoma City truck accident lawyer, as opposed to trying to settle the case on your own. Trucking cases are more complex than collisions involving two passenger vehicles, and a defective truck part can add additional complications.
If you or a loved one was hurt in a truck accident, Cunningham & Mears is here to help. We have secured millions of dollars on behalf of victims; let us put our skills and resources to work for you. Please call 405-232-1212 today, or fill out our contact form.
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