Driver Assistance Tech Defect Sparks Mercedes-Benz Recall
New technology is meant to make driving easier, not riskier. But as major auto manufacturers tinker with driver assistance tools, there is good reason to be concerned about new opportunities for defects to rear their ugly heads.
Take a recent recall from Mercedes-Benz: The company is recalling more than 8,000 vehicles that it says are equipped with faulty driver-assistance systems that could increase the risk of a crash.
The system may not properly detect when a driver’s hands are off of the steering wheel, Mercedes-Benz told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That could result in disaster on the road.
“Due to a production deviation at a supplier, the hands-off detection on the leather steering wheel with steering wheel heating might not meet current production specifications,” the company said in a defect notice. “In this situation, a driver may not receive a warning message prompting the driver to grip the steering wheel as described in the owner’s manual.”
The recall is limited to certain vehicles with heated leather steering wheels and the adaptive cruise control system that Mercedes calls “Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC.” It includes a wide range of 2021 and 2022 models, like the C-Class, E-Class, S-Class, SL, E-Class Coupe and Convertible, CLS, AMG GT 4-door Coupe and EQS vehicles.
Mercedes plans to notify owners of recalled cars by May 20. The company will ask those owners to bring their cars to a local dealer for a software fix, free of charge.
The DISTRONIC system is designed to maintain speeds and adapt to traffic, using sensors and monitors to maintain a safe distance from other vehicles. It is not the only driver-assist tech that has raised safety concerns.
Regulators are investigating at least two collisions in which Teslas crashed into parked emergency vehicles, looking at how much the vehicles’ Autopilot driver-assist system was involved in the collisions. The probe comes as other accidents in California, Texas, and Florida have reportedly been linked to Autopilot and motorists possibly taking their eyes off the road.
A 2020 study showed that these and other driver assistance systems may lead to more accidents by making drivers too comfortable and allowing them to be distracted.
Know Your Legal Rights Under California's Lemon Law
The Mercedes-Benz recall is a new chapter in an old story: Auto manufacturers recall millions of vehicles every year, citing a broad range of defects and malfunctions that pose serious safety hazards.
Fortunately, car owners in California do not have to simply wait for a recall in order to get their vehicles fixed. The state’s lemon law is a valuable tool that offers some important rights to car owners whose vehicles are under warranty.
The lemon law forces carmakers to perform a full slate of repairs on vehicles while they are under warranty. It also forces them to buy back cars that the companies cannot or will not fix. That includes compensating the owner for the purchase price, as well as financing fees and other related expenses.
Talk with a Los Angeles Lemon Law Attorney
If you are locked in a dispute with a car manufacturer over a malfunctioning or defective vehicle, an Los Angeles lemon law attorney at Bickel Sannipoli APC can help.
We have successfully assisted car owners across the state. Our offices are conveniently located in Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco. Call us at (888) 800-1983 or contact us online to speak with a Los Angeles lemon law attorney today.