Volvo Truck Recall: Increased Crash Risk

Volvo recently recalled more than 11,000 sleeper cab trucks because a faulty hinge can cause the sleeping bunk window to detach from the truck, increasing the risk of an accident.

Defective Truck Sleeper Cabs

Approximately 11,089 Volvo VNL and VNX commercial trucks manufactured between 2018 and 2020 were recalled due to potential crash risks. Sleeper models 740 and 760 are impacted by the recall. These trucks have a defective window hinge and insufficient bonding between the window glass and hinge that allows the sleeper bunk window to detach from the truck and fall into the road.

The faulty windows were first reported to Volvo in September 2018. In January 2019, Volvo changed its production and started using a larger mechanical fastener which improved the adhesive bonding between the window glass and the hinge. In March 2019, Volvo made the decision to recall all VNL and VNX model trucks built between Jan. 31, 2017 and Jan. 11, 2019. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a recall number 19V-208 to consumers. Volvo is notifying owners of affected models about free window hinge replacements.

In addition to Volvo VNL and VNX model trucks, Mack is recalling approximately 43 2020 model Anthem and Pinnacle trucks due to defective rear reflectors. According to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, the reflectors on these Mack trucks may block the trucks’ exhaust system which is a federal safety violation that poses injury risks. The NHTSA has issued a recall number 19V-209 to consumers. Mack is notifying owners of affected models about free replacements for defective reflectors.

Volvo’s heavy load VNL and VNX commercial trucks offer long-haul truckers a flexible living environment while on the road. The 740 and 760 model sleeper cabs provide sleeping bunks that are comfortable and convenient for drivers. Although the sleeper cabs were designed to increase driver productivity and comfortable sleeping accommodations, the defective window hinges increase dangerous crash risks. Truck drivers and owners have been cautioned against driving with the rear bunk window open until the defective window hinge has been replaced. NHTSA states that the entire window can fall out of the truck and into rear or oncoming traffic without warning.

Trucking Accidents and Injuries

According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, large commercial trucks usually cause serious injuries and fatalities in a crash due to their weight and size. Trucking accidents are caused by a variety of reasons, but defective parts are one of the main causes. Problems with steering components, braking systems, leaky fuel lines and tanks, defective cargo straps, faulty air bags, lights, and tires cause thousands of serious injuries and fatalities each year in the United States.

There are two main types of defects that can impact the safety of a large commercial truck – design defects and  manufacturing defects. Either one of these defects can quickly create a hidden safety hazard that increases the risk of a serious trucking crash.

  • Design Defects – Design defects usually happen before a truck ever gets built. They occur during the design phase, often due to improper design research, inadequate knowledge of components, or lack of attention to safety requirements.
  • Manufacturing Defects – Manufacturing defects happen because a part was not built according to design specifications. With so many mechanical and hydraulic parts in large commercial trucks, a manufacturing defect can impact one or many important components and safety systems.

In cases involving the Volvo VNL and VNX sleeper truck recalls, it appears that both design and manufacturing defects occurred. The sleeper cabs were designed with a faulty hinge that does not support the weight of the window or allow the window to open and close properly. There is also a manufacturing defect caused by improper bonding between the sleeper cab window glass and the hinge that allows the window to open.

Although Volvo sleeper cab windows are designed to open so truckers can get fresh air while sleeping, many truckers open them for fresh air while driving. Due to defects, this has resulted in sleeper cab window units suddenly falling out of trucks and into the road or nearby traffic. According to Volvo and the NHTSA, there are no reported injuries from these incidents, but there have been near misses and minor accidents caused by debris left in the road.

When commercial trucking accidents happen, injuries seen by truck accident lawyers are usually severe. Head trauma, brain injuries, spinal injuries, and limb amputations are common due to the weight of the truck and the force of impact. Accident victims who survive commercial truck crashes often suffer chronic pain, long-term injuries, and physical and emotional disabilities. The effects of trucking accidents can result in impairment of critical functions such as speech, vision,  memory, and internal organs  that have a significant impact on a person’s lifestyle and livelihood.