On February 12, 2014, Toyota announced a voluntary recall of 700,000 Prius vehicles in the United States, model years 2010-2014. The recall comes in response to analysis of the Prius control ECU software that manages the operation of the motor/generator and hybrid systems.
If the software settings are not corrected, the transistors may overheat and become damaged. When this occurs, the vehicle may enter a failsafe mode and in some cases, the vehicle will come to a stop. If this occurs while the vehicle is traveling at a high rate of speed or on a heavy trafficked road the risk of a crash is increased.
Prius owners affected by the recall will receive a first-class letter notifying them that their vehicle can be taken to a Toyota dealership for a free repair of the software system. A software update will take about 40 minutes, and if necessary the techs may replace the control module, which can take a few hours. Additional recall information can be found on Toyota's recall site.
Handling a Potentially Defective Vehicle
Vehicle recalls are not issued until the manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has investigated multiple instances of a potential defect. Toyota was aware of the software problems in May 2011 according to media reports, for example.
You can report defects to the manufacturer or may contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to inform it of the defect. You can report it at Safercar.gov.
Injuries and Accidents from Defective Vehicles
Manufacturers can be liable for injuries resulting from vehicle defects. If you were injured in a car accident involving a defective vehicle, you may be able to file a claim for damages against the manufacturer.
Walker, Billingsley and Bair have offices in the Des Moines and Newton areas to provide legal support to victims of car accidents caused by defective vehicles. Call (888) 435-9886 to schedule a free consultation.