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Safety Recalls: One in Five Cars on the Road Have Known Problems

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auto safety, car accident, Joliet Personal Injury lawyerWhen buying a used vehicle, many consumers take for granted that the car, truck, or van they are about to purchase has been thoroughly checked for safety. Buyers are often assured that the vehicle has been inspected, serviced, and is ready to go. Recent data released by Carfax suggests there may be more than a few things those who sell used vehicles are leaving out. Despite countless safety recalls, millions of vehicles on American roads today have unrepaired problems that can lead to accidents or other dangerous situations.

Carfax determined that more than 46 million or 20 percent of American vehicles currently in use have been recalled due to safety concern but were never repaired. Perhaps more concerning is the estimated 5 million cars which were sold last year with a recalled yet unfixed problem. “It's a very major public safety problem,” noted Chris Brasso, used-car specialist at Carfax.

There is no sign of this problem going away soon, either. Last year was a record-setting year for safety recalls, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with over 800 automotive recalls being issued affecting nearly 64 million vehicles. At an average of more than 2 recalls per day, it can be difficult for the average American driver to remain aware of his or her own vehicle's status. The government estimates that at least a quarter of car owners do not respond to recalls or have the ordered repairs completed.

Understandably, Brasso sees this as a problem. “When those recalled cars go unfixed, they compound over the years, and it increases the chance of those parts failing,” he said.

Carfax communications director, Larry Gamache agreed, “America's cavalier response to manufacturer safety recalls is putting lives at risk.” He continued, “The minor inconvenience that comes from having a recall fixed pales in comparison to what can happen if you don't.”

Federal law requires automakers to notify vehicle owners of a safety defect or recall within 60 days, but the requirement only protects those who purchase new or factory-certified vehicles. Although customer-loyalty incentives may encourage doing so, there are no laws in place requiring used-car dealers to make recall-related repairs or even notify prospective owners of an existing issue. There have been a number of efforts over the years aimed at addressing the problem, and federal regulators continue to push for new legislation. “We cannot allow vehicles with potentially dangerous defects to leave used-car lots without the necessary repairs,” said Dr. Mark Rosekind, administrator of the NHTSA.

Driving an unrepaired vehicle, regardless of safety recalls, can be extremely hazardous not only to the driver, but to passengers, pedestrians, and other vehicles. If you have been injured in an accident caused by an unaddressed safety repair, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney in Joliet for a review of your case today.

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