Automotive Recalls: Ensuring Your Car Is Safe

DuPage County personal injury attorneysMany of today’s headlines regarding road safety focus on distracted or impaired drivers. While such concerns are valid and very dangerous, there are other issues to consider as well. For example, could the vehicle you are driving pose a risk to your safety? Mechanical or design defects in cars across America cause horrific injuries and death to innocent people. If you are preparing to hit the road to visit friends or family this holiday season, you should be sure that your vehicle is in optimal condition to make the journey.

Reporting Agency

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) was established to ensure vehicles on our roads are safe and comply with federal standards. If these standards are compromised, the agency has checks and balances in place for consumers. Since the agency was created, more than 400 million vehicles have been recalled to correct safety defects, along with tens of millions of tires, motor-vehicle components, and child safety seats.

Regular monitoring of the automotive industry by the NHTSA can help identify potentially dangerous design defects and products. If a particular make and model of a vehicle or one of its components is found to have a serious safety defect, NHTSA issues a recall. The purpose of a recall is so that consumers have a chance to get the problem rectified before it causes harm. Vehicle defects that lead to a crash an injury or death are controllable circumstances. With these flaws addressed, drivers can be safer.

Unfortunately, however, the root cause of many such recalls involves someone actually being injured or killed due as the result of a defect. Of note, automakers can be subject to monetary fines imposed on them for failures to notify NHTSA promptly of potentially dangerous flaws in their cars. If an automaker or parts manufacturer knew of the problem but did not address it until someone was injured, the fines and sanctions may be even greater.

Types of Defects

A cursory glance at the laundry list of recalls reveals just how many things could cause a serious situation on the road. Some examples include:

  • Hood latches that can corrode causing them to open while the car is being driven;
  • Wiring that could overheat leading to a fire;
  • A brake component malfunction requiring greater stopping distance and the increased chance for a crash;
  • Faulty ignition switches causing sudden engine shut-off; and
  • Airbag inflators that can propel shrapnel into the passenger compartment.

Several of these examples simply do not allow the drivers to take evasive action in the moment, but they can be caught ahead of time by auto owners who pay close attention. Even though automakers are legally required to report to NHTSA any and all claims they receive from consumers blaming defects for serious injuries or deaths, vehicle owners should also be proactive by checking the NHTSA website for specific information about the make and model of their cars and to view a current list of recalls. Remember, in many households, cars may be shared between family members and friends, so be conscious of the reality that a loved one may be behind the wheel of a non-roadworthy vehicle.

Seek Legal Help

If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident caused by a defective car part, you may be entitled to collect compensation for your injuries. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney in DuPage County for help with your case. Call 630-920-8855 for a free consultation at Martoccio & Martoccio today.


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