General Motors has been in the news for all the wrong reasons this year, with millions of vehicles recalled for alleged safety hazards — and the company under fire from Congress and consumers over related motor vehicle accident deaths. The defect that's received the most coverage involves an ignition switch that can allegedly turn off while the vehicle is in motion. Thirteen deaths have been linked to that reported defect, some going back many years.
Auto safety recalls cover a range of known safety hazards and potential problems in cars, trucks, vans, motorcycles and other motor vehicles, as well as tire defects. Sometimes the vehicle manufacturer initiates the recall on its own, while other times the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) orders the recall based on consumer complaints and its own investigations.
If you've owned more than one vehicle in Maryland, chances are at some point you've received an auto safety recall notice in the mail. Did you call your dealership right away to get the defective part repaired? That's the safe and responsible thing to do. However auto industry watchers estimate a full one-third of consumers ignore safety recall notices -- at risk to themselves, their passengers, the driving public and pedestrians.
When consumers ignore automotive safety recall notices, they are driving vehicles that may pose serious public safety hazards. What's more, unrepaired vehicles sold on the used car market have traditionally been more difficult to track. Carfax estimates one in ten used vehicles sold online have unrepaired safety issues.
NHTSA now offers a new online search tool that allows consumers to input their VIN (vehicle identification number) to see if any recall notices have been issued for that specific vehicle. They also offer ways to search by vehicle make, model and year. (See link below under "Resources.")
If you own a vehicle in Maryland and receive an auto safety recall notice -- don't ignore it. The auto manufacturer is obliged to repair or replace the defective equipment at no charge to the consumer. Make the time and get the problem fixed. You could be saving your own life or someone else's.
Related Baltimore Injury Attorney Article:
Consumers Ignore Auto Recall Notices at Their Own Risk
TheStreet / Main Street April 16, 2014
GM probe blames incompetence for long delay in deadly defect case
Baltimore Sun June 5, 2014
Auto dealers handle national recall increase
Democrat and Chronicle Oct. 8, 2014
Search Safety Issues: Recalls, Investigations & ComplaintsSaferCar.gov