The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has announced a recall of Ford Windstar vans due to concerns over a potential equipment defect posing an increased risk of crashing. The recall is intended to fix brackets and mounts in the front subframe that may separate and cause reduced steering control. More than 400,000 vehicles are potentially affected, including vehicles sold in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana.
The recall is expected to begin on or before February 14, 2011. If you own a Ford Windstar van with a model year between 1999 and 2003 you should contact your Ford dealer to arrange an inspection and repair free of charge.
When a defect is discovered that affects many vehicles, a manufacturer will often issue a product-wide recall to address the problem. However, relying on manufacturers to issue recalls is not an ideal way to keep defective vehicles off our roads for a number of reasons. First, by the time a recall is issued the defective vehicles have often already caused many accidents, injuries, and deaths. Additionally, sometimes a manufacturer does not consider there to be enough affected vehicles to issue a recall.
A much safer way to protect people on our roadways is to require manufacturers to take all reasonable steps to avoid selling defective vehicles to the public in the first place. In a competitive auto industry, sometimes the temptation to rush vehicles into the marketplace takes precedent over ensuring they are safe to drive first. The tort system plays a crucial role in discouraging manufacturers from putting profits over safety, by ensuring that manufacturers who sell defective vehicles pay for the harm they cause to innocent victims. Because of this, manufacturers must think twice before skipping safety steps. If not for the rights of individuals to hold corporations responsible for causing devastating harm, there would likely be many more defective vehicles on our roadways, and far fewer recalls.
Source: NHTSA.gov, List of Vehicle Defects