These days, it seems like an automobile defect recall is issued just about every week. Many recalls are nothing more than inconveniences to consumers, but others actually save lives. Safety-related auto defects pose serious threats to motorists in California and all across the country. Unfortunately, however, mass recalls of defective automobile products typically only occur after serious injuries and/or deaths have occurred.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) discusses the issue of automobile defects in detail, and explains that they are responsible for thousands of accidents and injuries every year across the U.S. Despite the fact that traffic fatality rates are down nationally, they still account for the leading cause of death in people 33 years old and younger. Beyond that, they amount to hundreds of billions of dollars in financial losses. It is for that reason that the NHTSA combats traffic fatalities by implementing and enforcing vehicle safety standards for automobile manufacturers and retailers.
According to the United States Code for Motor Vehicle Safety, an automobile defect is defined as “any defect in performance, construction, component, or material of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment.” Therefore, a safety-related automobile defect is recognized as a problem in a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment that poses a risk to motor vehicle safety, and can exist in a group of automobiles or automobile equipment of the same type, manufacturer, or design.
Safety-related automobile defects can include but are not limited to:
- accelerator controls that stick or break
- steering components that cause partial or complete loss of control
- faulty fuel system components that can cause fires
- faulty wiring systems that can shut down vehicle lights and/or electronics
- airbag systems that fail to deploy and/or deploy unintentionally
Issuing and enforcing automobile defect recalls is a crucial component in safeguarding motorist safety. Recognizing manufacturer and retailer responsibility for vehicle safety is another important tool in proving liability in auto defect injury cases.