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Fire truck maker issues recall after fatal Montana crash

There are basic precautions that all vehicle operators take, especially when it comes to ensuring that there is no reason to worry about any mechanism or component of the vehicle wearing down unexpectedly. Natural wear and tear of parts is also usually taken care of through periodic inspections and maintenance checks. As an incident in Three Forks, Montana, earlier this year demonstrated, however, a problem with even one vehicle part can cause serious accidents and fatal consequences.

The accident, which resulted in six deaths, including that of the local fire chief, may have occurred as a result of a drive shaft in the fire truck being defective. The fire truck's manufacturer, Navistar, later sent out a recall notice asking customers to have the part replaced. They had reportedly investigated other incidents dating back to 2008 whose cause may also have been similar equipment defects.

According to an official working with the manufacturer, the recall is based on an investigation that was independent of the Montana Highway Patrol's own inquiry into the accident. Such investigations may be prompted by complaints from customers or from warranty claims. When a recall becomes necessary, customers may have a choice in terms of getting the component fixed or replaced right away or fixing it as part of scheduled maintenance at a later time.

Irrespective of the reasons for a recall, from a safety perspective, it is usually recommended that the manufacturer's suggested modifications be carried out as soon as possible, if only as a precautionary measure. The consequences of a known defect can vary and consumers who have any grievance should seek advice as to whether their case should be taken up with the manufacturer. Any injury or fatality arising from such defective parts can make the victims or their families eligible for compensation. Although compensation cannot undo what already has happened, it can help to ease the financial burden that the accident victim and the victim's family may face in such a situation.

Source: ABC Fox Montana, "Three Forks Fire Truck Crash Causes New Recall," Spencer Conlin, Oct. 17, 2014

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