Feds Open Investigation into Alleged Power Brake Failure in Some Ford F-150 Pickups

by | Jul 1, 2015 | Product Liability

Our product liability attorneys report on the an investigation into alleged power brake failure in some Ford F-150 pickups.

A lot of Oklahomans rely on pickup trucks for transportation and to take care of chores. It’s essential that a truck’s brakes and other safety equipment function properly when called upon to protect the driver and passengers. What if your power brakes stopped working when you needed to come to a quick stop? 

Federal transportation safety investigators with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said on June 29 that they are opening an investigation into reports of brake failures involving the Ford F-150 pickup built in 2011 and 2012, according to the NHTSA website.

More than 30 complaints have been lodged, mostly in recent months, alleging that the vehicle experienced a loss of power brake assist from failure of the electric brake vacuum assist pump. The failure led to increased braking effort.

So far at least two accidents have been linked to the unexpected lengthened stopping distance associated with the loss of power brakes. In each of the reported incidents, the loss of power brake assist occurred without any warning indicators to signal the driver of a potential safety issue or increased stopped distance.

The incidents of alleged power brake failure show an apparent increasing trend with nearly two-third of the reports made in the past nine months, suggesting the problem may be getting worse.

A number of the people who filed complaints indicated that the problem occurs when they first start the vehicle, according to the Detroit Free Press. One person mentioned losing power brakes while backing up at five m.p.h. and striking a tree.

The preliminary inquiry by the Office of Defects Investigation is to determine the cause and scope of the problem.

Ford’s F series pickup trucks are the top selling pickup in the U.S.  According to The Detroit News, the investigation focuses on F-150s equipped with the 3.5 liter EcoBoost V-6 engine. Approximately 250,000 pickups may be involved.

An investigation could lead to a safety recall, and Ford said it is cooperating in the investigation.

A number of major recalls affecting various automotive brands have been issued in the past 18 months involving faulty airbags and vehicles with ignitions. Last year, we wrote a blog about the GM recall of vehicles equipped with unsafe ignition switches.

Automakers and auto parts makers are required to make and market products that are safe when used as directed and warn of potential hazards. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident caused by a defective auto part, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your losses.

Accidents caused by defective auto parts are complex to identify and not always identified by police as the cause of an accident. It may take an independent investigation by a personal injury attorney to spotlight the real cause of a crash.

An Oklahoma product liability lawyer who is experienced at handling cases involving defective products can review your accident and discuss your legal options for filing a making a product liability claim.