The United States Department of Transportation announced that the last of the nearly 16,000 U.S. heavy trucks voluntarily recalled earlier this year by Volvo Trucks North America for a serious steering defect have been identified and repaired, achieving an extraordinary 100 percent vehicle safety recall completion in a very short period of time. The recall was overseen by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in collaboration with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
“Over the last nine months, our USDOT team and Volvo Trucks have been laser-focused on protecting the motoring public by ensuring that every one of these recalled heavy trucks was identified and removed from our roadways until they were repaired,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This extraordinary effort, covering such a large number of vehicles, now with a confirmed 100 percent achievement of the safety recall, averted the risk of injury or death to not only the truck drivers, but also to everyone sharing the road.”
On February 17, 2016, Volvo Trucks North America proactively announced the recall of certain model year 2016-2017 VNL, VNX and VNM heavy trucks due to a steering shaft defect that potentially could have caused the truck driver to unexpectedly and suddenly experience a complete loss of steering.
Acting immediately, NHTSA took the unprecedented step of reaching out to its sister agency and requested FMCSA to assist in getting the recalled commercial vehicles brought to a stop. NHTSA and FMCSA, working in collaboration with Volvo Trucks, implemented a nationwide information campaign to alert trucking companies and their drivers as well as federal and state roadside inspectors of the urgent recall notification. FMCSA also issued an immediate out-of-service order for the trucks.
Volvo Trucks also took unprecedented steps and used new and innovative methods to alert owners and drivers to the potential risk. While Volvo Trucks worked to directly contact truck owners, FMCSA and NHTSA posted recall announcements on social media platforms and issued multiple press notifications to trucking trade news outlets, including special appearances by federal officials on satellite radio programs geared to long-haul truck drivers.
“The successful conclusion of this large-scale national recall is a testament to the vital importance of everyone working together,” said FMCSA Administrator Scott Darling. “Many people were called upon to play a role in alerting carriers and drivers of the recall, from the trucking trade media to roadside safety inspectors. I am confident that all of our safety goals can likewise be achieved through this model of collaboration and partnership.”
One hundred percent recall completions historically have been rare. But in January, Secretary Foxx joined 18 automakers to commit to Proactive Safety Principles which included a focus on maximizing safety recall rates by “working toward the aspirational goal of 100 percent participation.”
“We applaud Volvo Trucks’ commitment to addressing every one of these trucks,” said NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind. “Not only has every truck been found, they were repaired or taken out of service before there was any serious crash tied to this dangerous defect. This is exactly what proactive safety is all about.”