Fords and Doors

 

Those of us who commute throughout Maryland do not need to be told about the dangers of our daily drives. From drivers who are too groggy to function behind the wheel to those who have very urgent text messages to address, other drivers pose a serious safety hazard to us. Once you take into consideration Mother Nature’s influence on our trip and account for rain, sleet, snow and sun glare, the hazardous conditions add up quickly. On top of these daily events we also have to combat construction zones, debris from blown tires, and pedestrians nearly every time we take a drive. These things come to mind quickly and easily when considering the trials of everyday traveling. One thing that should not influence whether we arrive safely is our vehicles themselves. Preventative maintenance can help drivers avoid the normal wear and tear on a car, but when a car is defectively designed, drivers may find themselves at the mercy of the defect.

 

A Door Defect

Ford Motor Company manufactures and assembles a car known as the Fiesta at Cuautitlan Assembly Plant in Mexico. The company also makes a Ford Fusion at Hermosillo Assembly Plant in Mexico. One owner of the Ford Fiesta found himself driving along last year when his door flung open during a left-hand turn. He took the car to a Ford dealer who promptly fixed the latch and returned the car. A few days later another door flew open while the owner was driving. The owner wrote to the Ford dealer saying, “I could not close it so I drove with the seatbelt tied to the door for four miles to the nearest Ford dealer.” After this last trip to the dealer, again only one latch was fixed. The driver became concerned about pedestrians or bicyclists he might encounter, or items falling out of his car when he made turns. He soon found out that he was not the only Ford owner having these problems or these concerns.

 

An Investigation

Last fall the Office of Defects Investigation at the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation against Ford Motor Company. The preliminary investigation came after the Administration received 207 reports of drivers having problems with doors that refused to latch. Of those reports, 65 drivers claimed that the doors opened on their own while the car was moving. After inquiring into Ford’s knowledge of the complaint, ODI learned that Ford received 451 reports of the defect. Ford argued that it did not believe the door latch problem could cause a door to open on its own while the car was in motion. This led ODI to continue their investigation into the problem. As a result of the investigation Ford has issued a recall of the Fiestas assembled at Cuautitlan between February 2012 and May 2013 and the Fusions assembled at Hermosillo between July 2012 and May 2013. This accounts for 336,873 cars in the United States alone. Ford has promised to fix all defective door latches for customers at no cost.

 

One of the best ways to lookup to see if your vehicle has been affected by safety recalls is by checking out http://www.recalls.gov/.

The site lists recalls for motor vehicles, food, medicines, etc. and is a great way to stay on top of product safety.

 

Justin P. Katz
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Justin Katz is a personal injury lawyer who represents injury victims in Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC