Car Recalls Process Flawed, Investigation Shows

When automakers realize that a component of one of their own vehicles is faulty or dangerous, they typically issue car recalls to alert car owners that their safety has been compromised. These instances can range from a dysfunctional brake pedal to issues with the gas tank, but either way, they have an impact on the safety of the driver and his or her passengers. Because so many lives are at stake when it comes to vehicles, it is very important that the process is effective. But a recent Edmunds.com investigation shows that there are flaws with this process.

The Importance of Being Up-to-Date

Edmunds.com, a privately-held online resource for information on all things automotives, recently revealed the results of their own investigation into the car recalls process. What they found may worry used car owners throughout the country.

To put it simply, the current car recalls process in place makes it very difficult for used-car owners to be aware if their car is up-to-date with all recall services. And although it’s not the automakers’ responsibility to keep tabs on every individual car, experts argue that the process could be significantly improved.

“There’s no certainty that potentially dangerous cars – especially those in the used-car market – are being caught and fixed,” the company said in its report. “Many are overdue for a repair that could mean the difference between a safe car and a potential death trap. And while the responsibility for ensuring that a car has been checked for recalls ultimately rests with individual owners, the current system doesn’t make the process easy.”

Making Car Recalls Easier

Additionally, there are no current laws in place that require used-car owners to notify a potential buyer that the car being sold is currently or has been the subject of car recalls.

This, experts say, could lead to a magnified problem because cars that are becoming older and older are more at risk of mechanical issues. Not to mention the issue of liability if a used car were to injure someone because car recalls were not addressed.  

In another Edmunds.com study, the company found that at least 2.7 million vehicles listed for sale in 2011 were subject to a car recall that had not yet been fulfilled. Original purchasers of new vehicles receive notices for recalled parts, but when the title is transferred onto someone else, they are essentially on their own.

“The current system does not make it easy for car owners to know if their vehicles are up-to-date on recall services,” Since there’s only so much the manufacturers can do to reach out to car owners, the responsibility for ensuring that a car has been checked for recalls ultimately rests with individual owners. At the very least, used-car buyers should register their vehicles with the automakers to make sure they’re in the loop on any existing or future recalls.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently working on a website program that would allow used-car owners to track outstanding recalls by checking the vehicle identification number (VIN), but the system is not yet available for consumer use.

What do you think about the current policies and laws regarding the car recalls process? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comment box below

Seattle Car Recall Accident Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a faulty car part or the negligence of another person or entity, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries and lost wages. Contact the Davis Law Group today at 206-727-4000 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. 

Chris Davis
Top-rated, award-winning, attorney practicing wrongful death & serious injury law in Seattle.
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