Defective door latches can result in fatal or very serious injuries. If involved in a vehicle accident, defective door latches can cause doors to open and allow vehicle occupants to be ejected. The force of the ejection greatly increases the risk of fatal and serious injuries to be suffered.
At the start of 2004, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed upgrading Door Locks and Door Retention Components because of concern with "door latch integrity, mainly to prevent ejection in a crash." The agency had particular concern with rollover crashes. The defective door latches can exist because of poor design or inferior metals.
A weak component can have deadly effects. In early November 2004, Magna Donnelly was named in a series of class action lawsuits because of allegations that defective door latches on 4.1 million Ford Motor Co. vehicles caused doors to fly open in crashes. Plaintiffs' lawyers allege the defective door latch was the result of a Ford transcription error on the drawings submitted to Donnelly Corp., the outside manufacturer of the door handle spring.After ordering a recall after diagnosing the problem in spring 2000, Ford reversed the decision, which plaintiff's lawyers contend was because the company realized the recall of up to 11 million handles would cost the company $527 million. Defective door latch class action lawsuits have so far been filed in Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Canada, stateside in North Carolina and Florida and expected in Massachusetts and other states, according to a quarterly report by Magna.
News on Defective Door Latches:
March 28, 2005 - Defective door latch lawsuit settled
November 6, 2004 - Defective door latch class action lawsuits name Magna Donnelly