Hyundai Agrees to Pay $17.35 Million Fine for Defective Brakes
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently issued a press release regarding a multi-million dollar fine involving defective brakes. As it turns out, Hyundai failed to report the defect in a timely manner. Unfortunately, Hyundai is following in the footsteps of other automakers that are also facing record fines this summer due to improper management of defective products.
Thankfully, Hyundai has agreed to pay the fine and comply with NHTSA safety oversight requirements. The automobiles in question are 2009 to 2012 Hyundai Genesis models. The brake issues involved corrosion in critical components of the vehicle’s brake system that resulted in reduced effectiveness of stopping.
The Wrong Brake Fluid
Apparently, Hyundai found out in 2012 that the brake fluids being used in 2009 to 2012 Genesis models didn’t sufficiently inhibit corrosion. Basically, they were using the wrong brake fluid, which led to corrosion of critical brake systems. Thankfully, no fatalities have been reported, but the problem has been linked with six reported collisions, including two reports of injuries. As of January, 2014, there were at least 87 consumer complaints about the Hyundai Genesis, most involving brake problems.
Improper Handling of the Problem
Rather than conduct an official recall, Hyundai decided to just ask dealers to use a different brake fluid in cars on the lot. They didn’t even explain the consequences of failing to switch to a different brake fluid. Furthermore, Hyundai didn’t inform Genesis owners of the potential safety consequences either. They didn’t even issue a recall until October, 2013 thanks to NHTSA’s investigation and pressure.
Hopefully, these multi-million dollar fines will begin to deter automakers from sweeping potentially life-threatening safety issues under the rug. If automakers are made aware of a safety issue, they need to bring it to consumers’ attention immediately. If you think a mechanical defect has contributed to an accident that you were injured in, you need to report that to the automaker and to the NHTSA as soon as possible. It’s clear that automakers can’t police themselves, so consumer pressure is probably the most important aspect of bringing safety issues to light. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a defective automobile part, contact the experienced team at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc. for a free consultation today.