Toyota Motor Corp recently announced a recall of 625,000 hybrid vehicles globally. Approximately 120,000 of the recalled vehicles are located in the United States. The recall also involves 160,000 vehicles in Europe and approximately 340,000 Japanese cars. The recall centers on a software glitch that can cut power to the hybrid system while the car is in motion. One model affected by the recall is the “Prius v” minivan, but other models may be recalled over the same computer issue.
The problem centers on the vehicle’s software. An issue with the programming can cause the certain transistors to overheat. While there are systems in place to warn drivers of this overheating, damage to the transistors can lead to the entire hybrid system shutting down.
What this means for drivers is that their vehicle could lose the power to its drivetrain, causing the vehicle to coast until it stops or the driver hits the breaks. This could be extremely dangerous if it happens on a highway, a bridge or anywhere else where suddenly stopping is not a good option. Luckily, no car accidents have been attributed to this glitch so far.
Though the cause is different, this danger is similar to the hazards that prompted a recent General Motors recall. In that recall, ignition systems switched off while cars were driving, causing a loss of power to the drivetrain, as well as the steering and braking systems.
While the problems with the Prius do not affect the car’s steering or brakes, they still have the potential to be deadly. Toyota will be mailing out notifications to owners of 2012-2014 Prius vehicles covered by the recall. Owners can bring their car in to a dealer to have the software in their engine control units updated. To see if your car is covered by this recall, you can enter your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on a website run by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The Ridgewood car accident injury attorneys at Seigel Law represent victims of auto accidents caused by product defects. If you were injured because a car was defectively designed or was made dangerous by production problems, we will represent you in claims against the manufacturer. When auto-makers drag their feet on recalls to save money, we work hard to hold them liable. Call us today at 201-444-4000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Bergen County products liability attorney.