Modern automobiles are becoming increasingly sophisticated, relying on many kinds of computers and software to operate the many safety devices intended to protect the driver and passengers from injury in a collision. What happens if one of these complex devices malfunctions? What, if anything, can the manufacturer do to protect their customers? In most cases, the answer is straightforward: recall the defective vehicles. Tesla is using that remedy to remedy safety defects in its Model 3 and Model S sedans.
Tesla has recalled all Model 3s from model years 2017 to 2020 because it discovered that a coaxial cable that connects the rear view television camera to the display on the dashboard is subject to failure if it rubs against the trunk cover. The cable runs through a harness on the trunk lid, and too many trunk openings and closings can wear away the cable and cause it to fail. The driver will thereby be deprived of the useful rearview when the car is traveling in reverse.
Tesla discontinued the defective harness at the end of its 2020 model year. 2021 Teslas and later model will be equipped with a different harness design.
Tesla is also recalling its Model S because the front hood latch on some vehicles is subject to unanticipated failure, causing the hood to fly open and obscure the driver’s view. This recall affects Model S Teslas manufactured from 2014 to 2021. Tesla estimates that more than 119,000 models suffer from this defect.
The costs of these two recalls are significant, but they can easily exceed Tesla’s exposure for damages if the defects were to cause wide spread injury or death. Anyone who believes that they or a loved one suffered an injury caused by one of the these defects may wish to consult an experienced accident attorney for an evaluation of the facts and an opinion on the likelihood of recovering damages for medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.