September 10, 2015

A truck parts manufacturer has agreed to recall a tractor-trailer hitch associated with a deadly 2014 crash.

Fontaine Fifth Wheel Company will recall 6,800 Ultra LT Connectors, part number SLTPL4000. Over time, improper coupling techniques may result in cumulative damage to the locking mechanism, which in turn may result in the locking mechanism failing to operate or to properly engage. A faulty lock can cause the trailer to unexpectedly detach from the tractor, increasing the risk of crash.

The voluntary decision comes in response to government pressure from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The agency recently conducted an investigation into the hitches after a 2014 Cincinnati crash when a semi-trailer came loose from its tractor and plowed into oncoming traffic, resulting in two fatalities.

Fontaine will notify owners, and dealers will replace the fifth wheel with an Ultra NT model fifth wheel, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in September 2015.

Owners may contact Fontaine customer service at (844) 597-7393 for additional information.