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More on Recalls

Filled under Accident, Bache & Lynch, Product Recall on April 11, 2013 - no comments.
Photo: NHTSA is aware of the recall in the news affecting airbag inflators installed in frontal passenger-side airbag modules in some BMW, GM, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, and Toyota vehicles. We have been in communication with Takata, the manufacturer of the part in question, and the affected automakers regarding the recalls. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and post the documentation from each car manufacturer as we receive it—both on our website, www.safercar.gov, and links to the documents here on Facebook. The below link will take you to the recall notice from Takata.   http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/acms/cs/jaxrs/download/doc/UCM436445/RCDNN-13E017-5589.pdfThis week, one of our partner’s cars was on the recall list.  Is your car affected, too?
An automotive recall is a way for a manufacturer to tell you that there could be something about your car or truck that presents a risk of injury or property damage. And if you want to drill down to the very core of the issue, automotive recalls are intended to fix known problems with vehicles in an effort to keep roadways safer.  Car wrecks are the number-one killer of Americans under the age of 34, and a staggering 42,000 deaths are recorded each year on U.S. highways. Some of those lives could be saved by repairing unsafe vehicles or removing them from the roads. But who has the authority to do something like that?

The answer isn’t who, but rather what. In the United States, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sets the national safety standards and can influence — or in some cases order — an auto manufacturer to repair safety-related defects at no cost to the consumer. Even if the fix is something as minor as a missing washer or a faulty electrical connection, the manufacturer stands to lose millions of dollars in the process — it all depends on the number of cars and trucks affected by the recall, the cost of the replacement parts and the time it takes a technician to make the repair. So, as you can imagine, the automotive industry sometimes resists the idea of undergoing a full-scale recall.

Some auto manufacturers actually do make the first move when discovering potential faults or hazards in their cars or trucks, willingly starting the recall process on their own. Other companies need a little push from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), or even the courts, to start the recall process. The NHTSA recall process often starts when people discover flaws in vehicles they own or work on.  Many people simply do not know that if a consumer finds a potential hazard in a car or truck, that person can get in touch with the NHTSA and report safety concerns.

There are three methods you can use to contact the NHTSA if you suspect a safety-related defect in your vehicle. You can take any (or all) of the following actions:

  • Call the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Vehicle Safety Hotline: (888) 327-4236 or (800) 424-9153, toll free from anywhere in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
  • Report the issue online at the NHTSA’s vehicle safety Web site: http://www.safercar.gov/
  • Send a letter via U.S. Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Office of Defects Investigation (NVS-210) 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE Washington, DC 20590

If you file a complaint, there’s a chance you may be contacted by an investigator from the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI). The ODI, an office within the NHTSA, conducts defect investigations to support the NHTSA’s efforts. But that’s not all it does. ODI investigators keep a close watch on manufacturers’ recall operations, too.

If enough consumers file a report about the same issue with the same make, model and year of vehicle, the NHTSA may decide to open an investigation.  It might also help consumers in the future.