Many drivers assume that they would automatically know if something is wrong with their cars. However, even when unsafe car parts have been recalled, many people continue to drive and ride in unsafe vehicles because they are unaware that their lives are at risk.
Current Vehicle Recalls That Have Caused Consumer Injuries
The U.S. experienced record-high numbers of automotive recalls in 2015, from whole vehicles to dangerous vehicle parts that are meant to save the occupants’ lives. Perhaps the most well-known of these incidents is the recall of air bags made by Takata, which demonstrated a tendency to explore with extreme force on impact, sending metal fragments and steering components into passengers’ bodies. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that these airbags may have been installed in as many as 20 million vehicles from model year 2001 on.
Most recently, Fiat Chrysler was given the highest possible fine ever levied by the NHTSA for failing to do its utmost to recall Dodge vehicles with faulty rear fuel tanks. The defect caused explosions when vehicles were rear-ended, resulting in over 70 driver and passenger deaths. In July 2015, Fiat Chrysler was ordered to repair or buy back the affected vehicles from owners, as well as pay $105 million in fines.
How Drivers Can Check Their Vehicles for Recalls
If a part of your vehicle has been recalled, the good news is that automakers are required to provide repairs and replacement parts at no cost to the consumer. The bad news is that companies may not reach all of the consumers who have purchased their products to alert them before the defect causes an accident. For this reason, the NHTSA makes it easy for drivers to check their cars for recalls on their website in a few easy steps:
- Locate your vehicle’s 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). The VIN is specific to your car and is found on your vehicle dash or on your car’s registration card. This is the fastest way to see if you have been affected by a recall.
- Go to safercar.gov and enter your car’s VIN (you cannot locate the VIN, enter the make and model year).
- If your vehicle has an active recall, there should be information on which parts are affected and what repairs must be done, as well as what drivers should do to correct the issue.
- To stay ahead of future recalls, drivers can sign up to receive recall email alerts from NHTSA.
Under U.S. law, automakers are responsible for making all efforts to contact vehicle owners and dealerships in a timely manner to notify them of a recall. If you were not notified of a dangerous defect or were injured as a result, our attorneys can fight aggressively to get you proper compensation for your losses. Call us today at 800-237-3334 to discuss the details of your case in your free consultation.