On behalf of Smiley & Smiley, LLP posted in Defective Products on Wednesday, May 21, 2014.
When an auto manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) learns about an auto-related defect that could compromise the safety of American motorists, a recall is generally initiated. The recall process serves to notify the public of danger associated with defective products and to fix any given safety hazard. When recalls are announced in a timely manner and consumers similarly respond in a timely manner, the recall process can be effective in preventing defect-related harm and injury.
Unfortunately, certain motorists are not given proper access to the recall process. Although recall notices are published for the benefit of the general public, certain car dealers are not required to either notify customers about recalls nor are they required to fix defective vehicles. There is currently no federal law in place that requires either used car dealerships or rental car companies to notify consumers about recall-related defects or repair any of these defects.
A piece of legislation that would address this public safety issue has been proposed in Congress. However, a similar Senate bill has stalled for roughly three years. It is therefore unclear whether fallout from the recent General Motors recall scandal will inspire Congress to act on this issue, given that the Toyota sudden acceleration recall scandal did not.
Until Congress acts on this issue, it is important to be proactive when purchasing a used vehicle or renting a car. Any time you do either of these things, please research the vehicle model online and its ties to any safety-related recalls. If the car you are looking to drive has not been fixed, either have it fixed or please do not drive it.
Source: New York Times, "Recalled Used Cars Roam the Roads as Federal Legislation Stalls," Christopher Jensen, May 8, 2014
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