Car accidents that happen because of defective auto parts may involve faulty brakes or defective seat belts. Perhaps the airbag did not work as it should have, or the roof was not strong enough to withstand the pressure of a rollover. But these are not the only parts of a car that can be defective.
As one recent case involving a race car shows, even steering wheels can be defective. A 17-year-old was doing warm up laps during a sprint car event in Northern California when his vehicle left the dirt track, hit a sloped wall and flew 150 feet through the air. Two people were killed, including the cousin of the driver.
The driver said that his steering wheel detached from the steering column as he was beginning a corner at about 90 mph. Because the vehicle was new, those involved in the crash believe the steering wheel's quick-release mechanism malfunctioned. The local Sheriff's Department is still looking into the matter, but an official says it appears the vehicle malfunctioned.
The track announcer at the speedway where the accident happened says that most race cars have detachable steering wheels. Drivers take them off each time they enter or exit the car. But, the announcer says, it's unusual for the wheels to come off without warning.
If the steering wheel was defective, the victims of the crash or their families could file an auto defect claim against the manufacturer, retailer, or other company involved.