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Is it time to think twice about Volvo's rep for safety?

Volvo cars didn't used to be all that great looking. The feature that made the Swedish-made vehicles stand apart from the rest of the pack was safety. Some Illinois readers may remember company marketing material from a few years ago that declared, "They're boxy, but they're good." The message was that it was better to be safe than sexy.

Boxy might be one way to describe Volvo's big rig tractor trucks, too. But as has become rather apparent from recent news headlines, the lack of sex appeal hasn't necessarily been offset by better safety. Thousands of recent model tractors are now banned from the road by federal regulators.

What sparked the action is the revelation that some 20,000 of the trucks are lacking one small piece -- the absence of which creates the risk of a potentially deadly truck accident. Word is that the tractors are missing a pin that holds the steering shaft together. If that shaft breaks, the truck's driver loses control.

The trucks are from three model lines and were built between May 11, 2015 and March 8 of this year. The Department of Transportation says about half of the vehicles are either operating with a temporary fix or are off the road. Any government inspectors who come across one of the thousands still roaming around are under orders to remove them from the road.

Semitrailer trucks are known to cause greater than usual damage when they get into accidents. When such crashes do happen, it's a victim's right to seek compensation for any injuries or property damage suffered. If negligence on the part of the driver caused the crash, that person deserves to be held accountable. If the collision resulted from product defect, the manufacturer deserves to be held to account.

The way to determine the scope of possible liability is to speak with a skilled personal injury attorney.

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