The Importance of Vehicle Recalls

Traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of death in the country, particularly among those under 34.  In particular, highway crashes are particularly dangerous, and often fatal.  With all of the vehicles on the road daily, there is often a risk of serious injury or even death.

Traffic accidents cause a tremendous loss to society.  In addition, there is an unavoidable emotional cost to all parties involved, and also to bystanders on the road.

Accidents can be caused by various factors, including unsafe vehicles.  As a result, The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act gives the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the authority to create vehicle safety standards.  The NHTSA is also permitted to require manufacturers to recall vehicles that have defects that may cause the vehicle to be unsafe or fail to meet Federal safety standards.

Vehicle manufacturers institute recalls voluntarily at times, and other times, the NHTSA requires the company to issue a recall to protect everyone on the road.  If a vehicle defect is discovered, the manufacturer must contact the NHTSA immediately, and must remedy the problem without charging the owner of the vehicle.

If you think your vehicle may have a safety defect, it is important to report it to the NHTSA immediately.  If you are correct, the NHTSA could force the manufacturer to recall the vehicle, which could ultimately lead to a resolution of the problem and save many lives.  If several people report the same incident, the NHTSA will force the manufacturer to recall the vehicle.  To file a report online, go to www.safercar.gov.

Not every malfunction in a vehicle is a safety-related concern reportable to the NHTSA.  An air conditioner or radio that does not work, paint chipping, dents in the door, and ordinary wear and tear of a vehicle are not safety-related issues and the NHTSA will not make the manufacturer issue a recall.

However, if you are experiencing a faulty steering wheel that causes swerving or complete loss of control, windshield wiper assemblies that fail to operate properly, seats that do not operate properly unexpectedly, air bags that deploy without any impact, or anything similar, you should contact the NHTSA immediately.

If you have been in an accident and you feel like a safety related defect was the cause, contact an attorney immediately who can investigate the status of the vehicle and assess where the fault lies.  If you are having difficulty getting your repairs made after a vehicle repair, an attorney can also assist you in making sure your issue is attended to in the lawful and appropriate manner and time.