Many thousands of people have died in accidents caused by automotive defects. Auto manufacturers sometimes recall defective vehicles voluntarily, but many do so only after serious accidents have been reported by consumers, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gets involved.
Unofficial investigations on the rise
Auto manufacturers are required to tell NHTSA about claims of serious injuries and deaths in their vehicles, but can request the information be kept confidential. If NHTSA chooses to investigate auto defect claims, the results of the investigation can be obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Even then, NHTSA can keep the information reported by the automaker confidential.
In addition, the existence of NHTSA’s investigations are not disclosed until the investigations become official. According to a report by USA Today, unofficial investigations are becoming more common. This means weeks or even months can go by before consumers learn about potential vehicle defects.
Known cases of dangerous vehicle defects
The following recalls have been issued recently due to a mechanical problem, which could result in an increased risk of injury to passengers:
- Chrysler Sebring automobiles — certain model year 2011–2013 and 200 vehicles manufactured June 28, 2011–December 13, 2012
- Dodge Avenger vehicles — model year 2011–2013 Dodge Avenger vehicles manufactured June 25, 2011–January 14, 2013
- Dodge Nitro vehicles — model year 2011–2012 manufactured June 17, 2011–December 15, 2011
- Jeep Liberty vehicles — model year 2011–2012 manufactured June 17, 2011–August 15, 2012.
- Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan, and RAM C/V — model year 2013
If you are shopping for a new or used car, be sure to check the NHTSA recalls listing on their website and do a little investigating of your own before you decide which car to buy.
You may be entitled to compensation if you were hurt due to a defective automobile, or your injuries were compounded by the failure of vehicle safety features. A skilled product liability lawyer in Boston with experience collecting damages in products liability cases can assess your right to receive money for your injuries.