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Motor Vehicle Defects: What is a Recall and When is it Necessary?

Friday, November 24, 2017By Nina Shapirshteyn

Approximately 30,000 people were killed in car accidents on U.S. highways in 2009. In fact, vehicle collisions are the number one killer of Americans under the age of 34. Many of these fatalities are the result of unsafe vehicles on our roads. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the federal government agency tasked with issuing federal vehicle safety standards. The NHTSA requires vehicle manufacturers to “recall” vehicles with safety-related defects or vehicles that do not meet federal safety standards.

A recall is a notice issued by a vehicle manufacturer to vehicle owners, dealers and distributors that a safety-related issue has been found. As several safety issues may be found during the life of a vehicle, different recalls will be issued by the manufacturer relating to each issue.

How is a Recall Started?

In many cases, the manufacturers voluntarily initiate a recall based on their own investigations of customer complaints. Other manufacturers issue a recall after being subject to an NHTSA investigation. If a manufacturer finds a safety-related defect in a vehicle, it must remedy the problem at no charge to the owner. Depending on the severity of the defect, the manufacturer must either repair, replace, or issue a refund for the vehicle. Most manufacturers opt to replace the part that is causing the safety defect.

How Can a Safety Issue be Reported?

If you believe that your car has a safety issue and you have not yet received a recall notice, you can contact the NHTSA to report the defect. If the agency receives multiple complaints from people regarding the same issue, an investigation may be opened. Safety defects can be reported either by telephone, by mail, or online. By telephone, call the NHTSA’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or 1-800-424-9393 toll free from anywhere in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands to register complaints or receive recall information about a vehicle. Online you can visit the NHTSA’s website and fill out the form. You can also search on www.safercar.gov for recall information relating to your vehicle. Finally, you can mail a letter to the NHTSA regarding your concerns about your car, you can find their mailing address here.

Vehicle safety is an important issue that affects everyone on our roads today. It’s important to stay aware of current recalls on your vehicle and to report potential safety defects as soon as you notice them. If you or a loved one has been injured in a vehicle-related accident, you need knowledgeable and experienced lawyers on your side. The attorneys at Alexander Law Group, LLP will provide a free case evaluation to discuss your rights. With convenient office locations in San Jose and San Francisco, our team stands by ready to help. Contact us at 888.777.1776 or visit our website at www.alexanderlaw.com to find out more.

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