General Motors issued a recall on about 700,000 2014 GMC Sierra trucks and Chevrolet Silverados. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that the potentially dangerous vehicles could spontaneously lose electric power steering assistance due to a software problem. Those who own or lease recalled vehicles are encouraged to take their trucks to a dealer for inspection and repair. Free software updates are available to fix the problem.
GM started a safety investigation in February 2017 to look into consumer feedback and complaints about EPS loss. The investigation found that high current functions can cause temporary low voltage conditions. When the voltage drops to a certain point for longer than a second, EPS is disabled until the voltage rises back above the threshold. The affected vehicles are more likely to experience the glitch during low-speed turns. While the power loss only lasts for around one second, this still increases the chances of an accident. A driver could lose control of the steering wheel when power-assisted steering is lost and then suddenly returns. A recall began on June 22, and pickups produced after Sept. 11 will already have recalibrated software. The new software reduces the elevated amperage levels so the EPS continues to operate normally.
Product liability laws may protect those who suffer injuries because of a dangerous or defective product. In a case like this, a design defect may be present that makes a part unsafe for use. Those who injured, as a result, may want to meet with an attorney to discuss their options.
Source: NHTSA, “Part 573 Safety Recall Report,” May 29, 2017