Atlanta Accident Attorneys Note Feds Investigating Brake Failure in Toyota Camry® Hybrids
While most people have experienced some form of vehicle malfunction related to maintenance issues or a vehicle defect, there are certain types of mechanical problems that put people at significant risk for being involved in auto accidents. When the brakes on a car, truck, SUV or other motor vehicle fails or malfunctions on a busy freeway, this type of vehicle problem can result in serious car accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating just this type of risk involving Toyota Camry® hybrid vehicles according to a USA Today report. The inquiry by federal regulators includes 30,000 Camry gas-electric hybrid vehicles with model years of 2007 and 2008 based on complaints from some consumers that the power-assisted brakes can fail.
The NHTSA reports that two crashes have already been reported in connection with the brake malfunction issue though there have not been any injuries or deaths reported to this point. The NHTSA has received 59 complaints from Camry owners indicating a loss of power brake assistance at various intervals which is extremely dangerous because motorists experience the malfunction without any prior warning. While the brakes do not fail completely, motorists who have encountered the problem must apply heavier pressure on the brake and require longer distances to bring their vehicle to a stop.
There are a number of particularly alarming trends that have emerged regarding this malfunctioning brake issue. The incidents have disproportionately occurred at higher rates of speed. The federal agency reports that two dozen of the incidents have occurred when the affected vehicle was traveling at speeds of at least forty mph. Further, the volume of complaints are increasing with more than half of the complaint being filed during the past eight month period.
While no one has been hurt to this point because of the problem, one near miss pedestrian accident could have been disastrous. A driver reported that his brake assist failed as he approached a crosswalk which forced him to slam into the curb as he swerved to avoid running down pedestrians crossing the street at the intersection. The motorist's complaint indicates that the car dealership that sold the vehicle indicated that the problem was related to an issue associated with the brake control computer.
While it is not yet clear whether the mechanical issue will lead to a vehicle recall, owners should be aware of the potential issue and proceed with caution. If you or someone you love is injured in a collision related to a vehicle defect, the manufacturer of the motor vehicle and the defective component may be financial responsible for injuries or fatalities caused by the defect. Even if no recall is issued, the manufacturer may still be liable for defect-related crashes.
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