The Associated Press is reporting that Toyota recalled more than 550,000 vehicles worldwide because of a steering problem it discovered, while GM is recalling nearly 700 Cadillacs because of a brake issue, UPI reports.

You would think by now vehicle makers would be at the point where the number of vehicles they have to recall would be limited. They spend years building vehicles and have top-notch designers coming up with the newest concepts for safety and technology. Yet here we are at the end of 2011 and half a million cars are going to have to be repaired because of problems that could potentially lead to a serious or fatal accident.

Don’t misunderstand. Our product liability lawyers are thankful that companies voluntarily, and sometimes with pressure from the government, recall vehicles that can be dangerous to consumers.

But defective vehicles are much more serious of an issue than other products that can be called back after a problem is discovered. These are several-ton vehicles that can be driven at speeds over 100 mph. They are killing machines if not properly handled right and certainly if they are designed poorly.

Car companies have many standards to hit in terms of safety and making sure that in a crash a person will be relatively safe. But they apparently lack when it comes to ensuring that a vehicle will work correctly.

This comes with many still remembering the braking issues that Toyota had in recent years that led to several deaths. According to the Associated Press, the Toyota recall affects 447,000 vehicles in North America, along with another 100,000 abroad. The models include Camry, Highlander, Sienna, Solara, Avalon and Highlander HV.

The company has received about 80 reports of a defect in steering going back to 2007, but the company says there are no reports of accidents or injuries. In the last two years, the companies have recalled nearly 14 million vehicles.

Consumers should be aware that if a strange noise is heard coming from the engine, they are urged to make an appointment with a Toyota or Lexus dealer to get the vehicle inspected. If parts are required to fix the issue, they will be furnished without a charge to the consumer.

The Cadillac issue relates to a brake boost push rod issue in its 2012 model year Cadillac CTS vehicles made in a five-day period in October. Nuts holding the power vacuum brake boost push rods may not be torqued to the proper specifications, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The issue could cause a nut to loosen and allow the brake boost push rod and the brake pedal to separate. GM has told consumers they will service the vehicles for free.

Thankfully, the companies are able to get the word out about the recalls so that people who have these vehicles can get them fixed. But considering that vehicles can cost tens of thousands of dollars, they should be right the first time.

The Ferraro Law Firm represents people injured by recalled or defective products throughout the country. Call (888) 554-2030 for a free and confidential consultation. Offices in Miami, Washington, D.C., and New York City.

More Blog Entries:

Honda Recalls 80,000 Vehicles Due to Fire, Transmission Hazards: September 6, 2011
Additional Resources:

Toyota Recalls $550,000 Cars for Steering Issue, by Malcolm Foster, Associated Press