Preventing car accidents often involves many steps, including public education about driving risks and tough vehicle safety standards.
While National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) guidelines set minimum standards for safety, some automakers release vehicles to the public despite knowing that the cars have vehicle defects that could be dangerous. One high-profile example of this involves accusations that General Motors released vehicles for sale despite knowing ignition problems could result in the cars shutting off randomly.
GM not only may have known about the defective cars and sold them anyway, but it took a long time (and multiple deaths) before it cooperated with a recall to get the dangerous cars off the roads and get them fixed.
Broader efforts need to be employed to make sure that the NHTSA can investigate such problems. And stronger deterrents must be put in place to stop automakers from shirking their duties to make safe vehicles and recall them as soon as they become aware of defects.
According to Claims Journal, a recent transportation bill passed by the U.S. Senate could be one small step towards making cars safer by imposing harsher penalties on car manufacturers who release defective cars. However, many consumer advocates argue the bill (which has not yet passed the House of Representatives) does not go far enough.
Keeping Unsafe Vehicles off the Roads to Prevent Car Accidents
As part of the highway transportation bill, the U.S. Senate suggested changing the cap on the amount of fines automakers can be assessed for releasing defective and dangerous vehicles. The bill would triple the cap to $105 million.
Some lawmakers suggested getting rid of the cap entirely, but this proposal was not made part of the final bill. Others suggested the cap on fines should be raised to $300 million instead of just tripling the fines.
There was also a proposal to impose criminal penalties on auto industry executives who were aware of safety problems or who intentionally hid information about the issues, but that proposal was rejected.
In addition to imposing a higher penalty cap, the transportation bill has several other provisions aimed at reducing car accidents and making the roads safer. The bill provides more funding to the NHTSA to conduct investigations into potential problems with vehicles.
The bill also mandates rental cars that have vehicle defects and that have been recalled cannot be rented until the defects have been repaired (there have been deaths associated with the rental of recalled vehicles in the past). Finally, there is a proposal to have auto dealers conduct a recall check on consumer vehicles brought in for routine services, so drivers can find out about recalls in a timely manner.
Catastrophic Car Accident Risks
Vehicles with defects are dangerous and can significantly increase the risk of car accidents. Keeping defective cars off the road should be a top priority. The proposed bill pending in the House of Representatives could have been stronger. But it’s at least a step in the right direction if it’s passed by the House and signed into law by President Barack Obama.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident and need guidance on pursuing a claim for traffic accident compensation, the experienced lawyers for auto accidents at Tolbert Beadle are here to help. We specialize in assisting accident victims in Springfield, MO, and surrounding areas. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 1-800-887-4030 for expert legal advice and support during this challenging time. Your safety and well-being are our top priorities.
Along with Springfield, we also proudly serve Columbia, Jefferson City, Joplin and throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri & Oklahoma.