Known to South Carolina personal injury lawyers, and the rest of the country for that matter, as the best-selling vehicle in America, the F-series pickup truck produced by Ford Motor Co., has come under pressure from regulators in Washington.
Last Wednesday, Ford announced it would recall 150,000 F-150 pickup trucks to repair air bags that could deploy without warning. The government contends a fraction of which should be called back and repaired. The recall covers trucks from the 2005-2006 model years in the United States and Canada, for what Ford calls a “relatively low risk” of the air bag inadvertently deploying.
By contrast, the government has urged Ford Motor Co. to recall 1.3 million F-150s from the 2004-2006 model years, citing 77 known injuries from accidental deployment of an air bar. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been investigating this issue for more than a year.
Back in May, Ford told the government that the defective products causing air bag deployment didn’t “present an unreasonable risk to vehicle safety” because of the low rate of alleged injuries and that the air bag warning lamp provided an “obvious warning” to owners and operators. Burn injuries from contact with the air bag, bruises, back and neck injuries, and minor cuts were among the reported harms caused by the unintentional deployment, according to the auto manufacturer.
A striking majority of the complaints involved trucks built during the first shift of production, November 2004 through June 2005, at the Norfolk, Virginia assembly plant. The rates of air bag accidents were much higher in those pickups built at the Virginia plant than those assembled at Ford’s other plants in Missouri and Michigan.