Nearly half of vehicles aren’t covered under safety regulations: Consumers keeping vehicles longer

Auto Recall Attorney - The Cooper Firm

Nearly half of vehicles aren’t covered under safety regulations:

Consumers keeping vehicles longer

Although automakers are required to report any suspicious accidents to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are hundreds of crashes that are not reported due to a U.S. safety rule. Under the agency’s safety rule, automakers are not required to report accidents involving vehicles that are 10 years old or older.

This safety rule is a significant issue to safety advocates who have shared that the average age of vehicles on the road is 11.4 years. This means that almost half of vehicles are not covered under the U.S. federal agency’s regulations. Because the accidents do not get reported, NHTSA cannot detect patterns of product defects. This also prohibits the agency from recalling vehicles in a timely matter. There is currently legislation in review along with other efforts to make safety data available to the public, which would eliminate the 10-year limit.

A good example of how this rule has caused negative consequences is the Takata airbag recall. Several vehicles that were outside the 10 year mark caused severe injuries due to the defective airbags. The only way the agency discovered these accidents was due to lawsuits brought against the automakers.

Not only does the ten year limit affect defective parts, but aging parts as well.  Vehicles last much longer than they used to. Congress originally put a time limit on recalls to only replace or repair vehicles that are 8 years or newer. Then in 2000, Congress extended the age of vehicles 10 years or newer based on the fact that the average age of vehicles on the road was 9 years. Now that the average age is 11.5, the rule needs to be reconsidered.

Allan Kam, an auto safety consultant who worked for 25 years at the NHTSA, thinks that the time limit should be vetoed all together. “Even if you make it 12 or 13 years, there will still be millions of vehicles not covered. If equipment is supposed to last the life of the vehicle, it should measure the life of a vehicle,” Kam told Bloomberg News.

We stand behind Kam’s thoughts to get rid of the limit all together. Consumers deserve to have their vehicles fixed if there is a needed defect or repair.  Whether that vehicle is new or not should not be issue. People have lost and will lose their lives as a result.

Source: Bloomberg News

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