Vehicle manufacturers have a duty to report safety issues by law. The legislation is known as Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability, and Documentation–TREAD.
Over a decade ago, there were several hundred deaths and many individuals seriously injured as a result of defective tires made by Firestone on Ford Explorers. In 2001, Congress took action and passed TREAD to require vehicle manufacturers to report safety issues in a timely manner. The goal of the legislation to require auto manufacturers to report defects, not to hide them. Once reported the National Highway Safety Administration can issue recalls, impose fines and potentially order criminal charges.
However, many argue the legislation is failing due to time delays (sometimes several years). In the past few years delayed actions resulted in many deaths and serious injuries as a result of sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles (several years ago), ignition switch issues in General Motors vehicles (past 2 years) and now with airbags involving the Japanese company Takata. Facts uncovered in Toyota’s sudden acceleration and GM’s ignition switch showed the manufacturer’s knowledge of the defects many years before any action was taken. The Federal Government is currently investigating Honda on whether Honda failed to timely report deaths and injuries caused by defective airbags.
The end result–delays in recalling vehicles leads to unnecessary deaths and serious injuries.
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