A series of recall announcements have brought a new meaning to the local law enforcement slogan “Don’t Drink and Drive”, and it has nothing to do with alcoholic beverages or gas guzzling vehicles – it has to do with the deathly combination of drinking homemade hot chocolate and riding a Prius at the same time.

As modern culture seems to shift towards favoring fuel efficient electric vehicles and reducing the amount of alcohol people seem to consume, federal government agencies remind consumers that there is yet another caveat to consider. Recent recall reports on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indicate that one of the most dangerous things a consumer can do for the holidays, or at least until the recalls have been resolved, is to drive around town in a certain electric vehicle while drinking homemade hot chocolate from a certain hot chocolate making machine.

The recall report on the NHTSA site claims that Toyota Motor North America, the maker of the year model 2004-2009 Toyota Prius, is recalling approximately 669,705 vehicles that may result in the eventual loss of steering ability; and the recall report on the FDA site states that Focus Products Group international, LLC, Cocoa Latte Hot Drink makers of certain West Bend and Back to Basics models are recalling certain machines because they could leak lead into the homemade cocoa drinks.

On November 17th, a recall announcement was made for West Blends model number 65032 and Back to Basics models: CM300BK, CM300BKL, CM300BLSS, CM300BR, CM300BRBRL CM300BRL, and CM300W. According to the report Focus Products is recalling the products voluntarily after they discovered that a small bushing inside the container has the potential to leach lead – a toxin. The manufacturer has not received any complaints to date, stated the site. Most of the products they sold were primarily bought by consumers at retailers such as Bed Bad & Beyond or e-retailers such as Amazon.com or from one of the manufacturer’s online stores.

The drinks were shipped from 2004 through October 12, 2012 and affect only the models listed above, which may vary in color or transparency. Those who purchased the products are encouraged to contact the manufacturer to receive further information.

From August 3, 2003, through March 30, 2009 when Toyota manufactured the affected Prius models, they did not expect to have them recalled.  The affected vehicles had a steering intermediated extension shaft assembly that was built with metal splines that connected from the steering wheel to the steering gear. The metal splines however, were not manufactured with sufficient hardness. As time passes, the splines tend to wear and could possibly fail to deliver the expected amount of performance. This then affects the steering ability and can increase the risk of the vehicle being in a crash.

Toyota will make an effort to notify the owners and the dealers will be expected to inspect the extension shaft. If the dealer inspectors come across an extension shaft with insufficient hardness, then they will replace it with one that suffices free of charge. The recall for the Prius will begin on December 2012.

If you find yourself in an auto wreck, contact a car accident lawyer with years of experience that is more than willing to you resolve the matter today.