SAFETY RECALLS – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

On March 31, 2016 a teenage motorist was killed in Texas when a Takata airbag malfunctioned in her 2002 Honda Civic.  This model vehicle had previously been recalled because of a safety defect in the Takata airbag but this car did not have the recall fix performed.  A recall is issued when a vehicle manufacturer determines that a vehicle or some equipment associated with that vehicle fails to meet minimum safety standards.  A recall may also be instituted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

If your vehicle has been recalled, you may be contacted by mail or telephone by the manufacturer.  Recalls can target the vehicle, equipment, components, car seats or tires.  A safety recall should take place when the manufacturer or NHTSA thinks that one of these items poses a risk to motor vehicle safety or may exist in vehicles of the same design.  Manufacturers are required to notify or attempt to notify owners of a recall.  If you hear about a recall but have not been notified you can contact the manufacturer or the dealership to get more information.  You can also go to the website https://vincl.safercar.gov;/vin/ to look up recalls by your vehicle identification number (VIN).  To find out what your VIN is you can either look on your bill of sale or look on the lower left of the windshield.  There you will see a plate containing the seventeen digits VIN.

It is estimated that about twenty five percent of all United States vehicle that are subject to a recall are never fixed.  Fifty-one million vehicles were recalled in this Country last year.   Car manufacturers and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers have now asked major United States Insurance Companies to remind car owners of recalls when they review their policies.

When a vehicle is the subject of a safety recall the defect identified can pose a significant risk of injury or death to the owner.  It is critically important that motorists learn of and comply with safety recall notices.  The United States Code for Motor Vehicle Safety dictates that motor vehicles be designed and manufactured in such a way that they are reasonably safe.  This law defines motor vehicle safety as “the performance of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment in a way that protects the public against unreasonable risk of accidents occurring because of the design, construction, or performance of a motor vehicle, and against unreasonable risk of death or injury in an accident, and includes nonoperational safety of a motor vehicle.”  In this way United States law requires that motor vehicles be reasonably safe.  Safety recalls are mandated by federal law when there is a violation of minimum safety standards.  For this reason owners of motor vehicles should always comply with recall notices.

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