Did you know that since the year 2000, there have been over 9 million auto recalls in this nation? What’s shocking is that it seems carmakers are making more errors and allowing safety concerns to slip by and not taking customer complaints seriously. What’s sad is that many people are dying before something is done about these auto defects. For example, seven people died due to defective Takata airbags, and 117 people died as a result of General Motor’s faulty ignition switches.
Although automakers are supposed to notify the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) and issue recalls when safety defects are discovered, many times manufacturers fail to do this. This is why NHTSA has an Office of Defects Investigation. However, NHTSA is being criticized by the Transportation Department’s inspector general for its undertrained staff and failing to spot auto-defect trends due to the way the data is collected and analyzed.
The inspector general conducted an audit of the Office of Defects and found 17 recommendations for NHTSA to implement. Some of the shortcomings included:
- NHTSA didn’t ask enough questions when gathering information from the public that could have helped NHTSA detect failure trends.
- NHTSA’s coding could be better. For example, there are over 15,000 parts on vehicles and NHTSA only has 15 broad defect codes.
- NHTSA didn’t thoroughly screen the complaints from consumers.
- NHTSA doesn’t have enough staff in the defects office. There are 41 staff, and the workload is huge.
- NHTSA has screeners “who are not trained to carry out these responsibilities,” says the audit.
Although consumers trust automakers and NHTSA to let them know of safety concerns with their motor vehicles, the truth is that it could take years before consumers are notified of a safety recall even though automakers and NHTSA may have known about the issue early on. What’s sad about this is that more people are left to suffer needless injuries and fatalities.
If you have been harmed or if your loved one has died as a result of a car defect, you need to seek legal advice. You may have a claim against the auto manufacturer for your damages and losses. To learn more about your legal rights, contact the Law Offices of David Benenfeld for a free consultation with a skilled injury attorney at 866-9 HELP NOW or 866-943-5766 today.