Back in 1966, the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act was enacted, giving the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration the authority to issue vehicle safety standards. They also have the right to require manufacturers to recall vehicles that have safety-related defects or do not meet Federal safety standards. Since that time, more than 390 million cars, buses, recreational vehicles, trucks, motorcycles, and mopeds have been recalled to correct safety defects. Also, 42 million child safety seats, 46 million tires, and 66 million pieces of motor vehicle equipment have been subject to recall as well.
You probably remember back in 2000, when Ford Explorers were prone to rollovers if a tire blew out on them. There was much dispute between Ford and Firestone. Firestone tires were put on new Ford Explorers at the factory. Firestone had to recall 14 million tires that year. Now, there is the dilemma of Toyota, which has resulted in being fined the largest civil penalty the government can assess – 16.4 million dollars. The penalty was given for failure to warn NHTSA of a dangerous pedal defect for almost four months. Approximately 2.3 million Toyota vehicles have been recalled. Toyota feels they did not deceive the public; however, they will be facing lawsuits from individuals affected by accidents as a result of the malfunction.
Approximately 42,000 lives are lost annually on America’s roads. Traffic crashes are the primary cause of debilitating injuries and the #1 killer of U.S. citizens under the age of 34. We must get unsafe vehicles off the roads in order to improve safety and save lives. Registered vehicle owners receive a notice when a manufacturer issues a recall. After the manufacturer discovers post-production safety concerns, efforts are made to locate every affected vehicle to correct the problem, at no cost to the owner. Most of these recalls are voluntary; however, others may be influenced by NHTSA investigations or ordered by NHTSA via the courts.
If you receive a recall on your vehicle, tires, or child safety seats, don’t ignore it. The safest and smartest thing to do is follow up on it, to ensure you and yours stay safe on the roads. Some minor adjustment may need to be made and can be done quickly. It is unknown exactly how many vehicles are on the highways today that have been recalled for some reason. Many times, they are sold to other owners, who have no idea there was a recall on that particular vehicle; some people simply throw the card in the trash. Used car purchasers would be wise to ask the person or business where they are buying the car if it has been subject to a recall.
Let’s keep America safe by paying attention to recalls or other warnings we may receive. For more information, some good resources on the subject are at Recalls.gov and Safercar.gov.
Drive friendly, and stay safe!