Hundreds of car accidents involving older defective vehicles are going unreported each year, according to a Claims Journal report.
This is apparently because U.S. safety regulations do not require automakers to report suspicious accidents for models that are more than 10 years old.
This is terribly worrisome because the average age of cars on our nation’s roadways is 11.4 years.
Almost 50 percent of the vehicles on our roadways are not covered under existing regulations, which is downright scary.
As a result, a number of these car accidents involving faulty vehicles, no matter how serious they are, don’t make it to a government early-warning database that is designed to catch patterns of defects, which regulators use to determine if a recall is warranted.
Legislation introduced earlier this year by Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat, would eliminate the 10-year limit as part of a broader effort to make safety data more useful to the public.
However, that legislation is still being reviewed in committee.
An Outdated Law
Like many auto safety regulations, this particular law has not kept up with the changing times. The law is out of date because automakers have made it out of date by ignoring defects for a long time in some cases.
For example, vehicle models affected by the General Motors ignition defects are more than 10 years old.
This is because the automaker did not even acknowledge the problem, let alone issue a recall or warn unsuspecting consumers.
The same goes for defective Takata airbags that has affected millions of vehicles.
Takata has known about the problem with the explosive airbags that shoot out shrapnel into the passenger compartment for the last decade or more.
But recalls related to these defective airbags didn’t happen until recently.
Auto Product Liability Issues
If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a defective auto, please understand that you do have legal rights.
Injured victims can file what is known as a product liability claim, seeking compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation and pain and suffering.
If you have been injured in a car accident, make sure you preserve the vehicle, unaltered, so an expert can thoroughly examine it for evidence including defects, malfunctions and design flaws.
A reputed auto defect law firm will be able to conduct an independent investigation and make a determination as to whether an auto defect caused the crash or your injuries.