Just when you thought it was safe to get back on the highway

Another major automaker has issued a recall of some of its models due to a defective part. Recently, Ford announced they were recalling approximately 550,000 SUVs and cars sold to consumers in North America.

The problem appears to lie with the gearshifts. The bushing connecting the transmission to the shifter cable is prone to breakage. Should that occur, while it would appear that the vehicles were in park, they could suddenly roll away.

At the time Ford issued the recall, they had not received any reports of injuries or damages from the defective auto part.

Recalled models span several years

Automobiles covered in the recall are Escape SUVs manufactured in 2013 and 2014 and Fusion sedans made between 2013 and 2016.

Affected consumers will be notified by mail by the end of July. The plan is for dealerships to replace the defective parts free of charge to the owners. Ford will supply the replacement parts to the dealerships by the end of September.

Until the repairs are made, Ford advises owners of the recalled vehicles to use their parking brakes.

Consumers protected from hazards

People expect that the products they buy and use are safe when they are used for their intended purposes. One of the agencies tasked with protecting consumers from harmful products is the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The mission of this independent federal regulatory agency is to “protect the public against unreasonable risks of injury or death from consumer products through education, safety standards activities, regulation, and enforcement.”

As such, the CPSC has reached out to its stakeholders to improve the effectiveness of product recalls and public notices.

This is a follow-up to the CPSC’s recall effectiveness workshop held last summer. It’s certainly a positive development that the Commission is advocating to be more effective for American consumers. However, the high number of product recalls in recent years indicates that far too many damaged goods are still slipping past the safeguards and making their way to the public.

Consumers can be own advocates

Perhaps the best way to protect yourself from dangerous or hazardous products is to be aware of recalls and report any defective goods that you encounter. You can also take legal action against the manufacturers and/or retailers of the defective products if you wind up injured from their usage.