The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has entered into a settlement agreement with a dune buggy manufacturer over claims that the company failed to immediately report to the agency an electric motor defect that resulted in sudden acceleration incidents and injuries to consumers. Without admitting wrongdoing, Bad Boy Enterprises LLC has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $715,000.
According to a CPSC press release, the settlement resolves staff allegations that the Natchez, Mississippi-based buggy maker failed to report within 24 hours as required by federal law “a defect involving Classic Buggies off-road utility vehicles with Series brand and SePex brand electric motors.” Sold nationwide between spring 2003 and June 2010, “the Series and SePex off-road utility vehicles could suddenly accelerate during use or while the ignition is in the idle position, creating a runaway vehicle situation,” CPSC said.
According to the agreement, Bad Boy received its first complaint about an acceleration problem with the SePex motors in April 2005, and, by May 2008, it had developed new software to remedy the problem. But the company did not inform CPSC until August 2009, and a recall for the buggies was announced in October of that year. Subsequent CPSC investigations apparently uncovered Series motor acceleration problems, which Bad Boy “did not give CPSC full information about” until May 2010. A new repair program was subsequently initiated for both types of motors, and a second recall for Classics buggies using the motors was announced in December 2010. “By that time, there were over 50 reports of sudden acceleration incidents, resulting in injuries such as arm and leg fractures, a fractured toe, rotator cuff injury, and sore muscles,” CPSC said. See CPSC Press Release, September 23, 2011.