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Coalition of states calling for recall of unsafe Hyundai and Kia vehicles

Attorney General Anthony G. Brown of Maryland has joined forces with a coalition of 18 states, including Pennsylvania, in urging the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) to recall certain Hyundai and Kia vehicles that have been found to be vulnerable to theft. The vehicles in question, manufactured between 2011 and 2022, lack engine immobilizers and have easily bypassed ignition switches, making them particularly susceptible to theft. The coalition asserts that Hyundai and Kia have failed to address these safety issues adequately, and the federal government needs to step in as the vehicles are out of compliance with federal standards, posing an unreasonable risk to public safety.

The failure of Hyundai and Kia to include anti-theft devices that were standard features in almost all other new cars manufactured during that period has resulted in unnecessary risk for vehicle owners, who are now facing the threat of having their vehicles stolen and struggling to obtain insurance for the affected vehicles. Theft of these vehicles has led to reckless driving and further criminal activity, causing injuries and at least eight deaths nationwide. Local law enforcement and first responders are doing all they can, but they are feeling the burden. They’ve increased patrols and distributed anti-theft devices, but it has been a losing battle.

The companies have offered a software upgrade, but this upgrade will not be available for many affected vehicles until June, and it can’t be installed in some 2011-2022 models. Vehicle owners who cannot receive the software upgrade can reportedly receive a free steering wheel lock from Kia and Hyundai, but this places additional burdens on owners and does not address the underlying ignition system flaw. In the letter, the states urge NHTSA to institute a recall of the unsafe Hyundai and Kia vehicles as the vehicles violate federal requirements and pose an unreasonable risk to safety on U.S. roads. Joining Attorney General Brown in the letter are the Attorneys General of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

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