Bradenton Lawyer Explains Dangers of "Do Not Drive" and "Park Outside" Vehicle Recalls
Vehicle recalls are a common occurrence in the automotive industry. So common in fact that many of us in Manatee County are do not give them the attention they should. While some recalls address minor issues, such as replacing a missing page from an owner’s manual, there are others that are far more serious. The "Do Not Drive" and "Park Outside" recalls are among the most critical, and they demand immediate attention from vehicle owners.
Last week, Jeep issued a "park outside" order for over 130,000 Cherokee SUVs from the 2014-2016 model years. This was due to a potential fire risk associated with the power liftgate control module. Such recalls, although not frequent, are significant. According to Carfax, a title search company, there have been approximately 200 of these recalls issued by automakers in the past twenty years. Alarmingly, more than 2.5 million vehicles that have been subjected to such recalls are still on the roads unrepaired. This poses a significant risk to both drivers and passengers.
Despite the potential dangers, many owners neglect these recalls. This is surprising, especially since recall-related repairs can be addressed at no cost at a dealership’s service department. Ten states alone account for over 70,000 models that have been issued these recalls but continue to remain on the roads. Leading these states are California, Texas, and Florida, each with between 237,000 and 245,000 recalled yet unrepaired vehicles.
What Is The Difference Between an Do Not Drive and Parke Outside Recall?
The distinction between the two recalls is crucial. In a "Do Not Drive" recall, owners are advised against operating the affected vehicle to prevent potential accidents or injuries.
On the other hand, a "Park Outside" recall, which is even more severe, pertains to vehicles with a fire risk. Owners are instructed to park these vehicles outside garages and away from buildings to prevent potential fire hazards.
One of the most notable "Do Not Drive" recalls involved airbags manufactured by Takata. These faulty airbags could explode, sending metal shards into the vehicle's cabin. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that this recall affected 67 million vehicles. Tragically, this issue has resulted in 23 deaths and over 400 injuries. The NHTSA also estimates that up to 17 million of these vehicles are still in use without the necessary repairs. The urgency of addressing this recall increases as the chemicals inside the airbags become more volatile over time.
The Legal Implications of Ignoring Recalls In Personal Injury Law
Ignoring vehicle recalls, especially those of a critical nature, can have legal implications. Manufacturers issue recalls to address and rectify potential safety hazards. When vehicle owners neglect these recalls, they not only put themselves and their passengers at risk but also other road users.
From a legal standpoint, if an accident occurs due to a known defect that was subject to a recall, the vehicle owner might face challenges in litigation, especially if they were aware of the recall but chose to ignore it. On the other hand, manufacturers who fail to adequately inform vehicle owners of recalls or do not provide a reasonable means to address the defect can be held liable for damages resulting from accidents caused by the known defect.
It's also worth noting that insurance companies may have clauses in their policies related to recalls. In some cases, if a vehicle was involved in an accident and had an outstanding recall that the owner ignored, the insurance might not cover the damages.
Proactive Steps for Vehicle Owners
Stay Informed: Register your vehicle with the manufacturer to receive direct notifications of any recalls. Additionally, periodically check the NHTSA database for any new recalls related to your vehicle.
Prompt Action: If your vehicle is subject to a recall, act promptly. Schedule an appointment with the dealership to have the issue addressed.
Documentation: Keep a record of all communications and repairs related to the recall. This can be crucial if any legal issues arise in the future.
Safety First: If the recall is of a serious nature, such as "Do Not Drive" or "Park Outside," adhere to the recommendations immediately.
Vehicle recalls are a critical aspect of automotive safety. Manufacturers issue these recalls when they identify potential safety hazards in their vehicles. Ignoring such recalls can lead to severe consequences, both in terms of safety and potential legal implications. At the law firm of Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, and Walsh, we emphasize the significance of being proactive about vehicle recalls to ensure the safety of all road users.
Checking for Open Recalls
For vehicle owners, staying updated on recalls is now more straightforward than ever. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides a dedicated platform where owners can check for open recalls using their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Additionally, Carfax, a well-known title search company, offers a similar service at Carfax.com/recall. By simply entering the VIN, owners can quickly determine if their vehicle has any outstanding recalls. If a recall is identified, the necessary repairs to address the safety concerns are provided at no cost to the vehicle owner.
Raising Awareness through Digital Campaigns
Recognizing the importance of addressing recalls promptly, companies are now leveraging digital platforms to inform vehicle owners. Email campaigns are becoming a popular method to notify users of urgent recalls. These campaigns aim to ensure that critical recalls do not go unnoticed, prompting vehicle owners to take immediate action.
Vehicle Recall Search Services
Beyond the digital realm, efforts are being made at the ground level in the real world to increase awareness about vehicle recalls. One notable initiative is the Vehicle Recall Search Service introduced in Texas. As part of this service, drivers are offered a complimentary recall check during their vehicle’s safety inspection. This initiative, launched in 2018, has seen significant support. The recall check has been conducted over 3 billion times, indicating its widespread acceptance and the value it provides to drivers.
Vehicle safety is essential in Florida, and ensuring that vehicles on the road are free from defects or potential hazards is a collective responsibility. The state of Texas has introduced the Vehicle Recall Search Service. This initiative, which offers drivers a free recall check during their vehicle’s safety inspection, has received significant attention and support since its inception in 2018. With over 3 billion checks conducted, the numbers speak to its success and the crucial role it plays in enhancing road safety.
The Need for a Similar Initiative in Florida
Florida sees a significant amount of vehicular traffic daily. The state's growing population and increase in tourism mean that a large number of vehicles would benefit from this type of inspection. Ensuring that these vehicles are safe and free from recalls is crucial to prevent potential accidents and maintain the overall safety standards on Florida's roads.
How the Initiative Would Work in Florida
Integration with Existing Safety Inspections: Just as in Texas, the Vehicle Recall Search Service can be integrated into Florida's existing vehicle safety inspection process. When drivers bring their vehicles in for the routine inspection, the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) can be checked against a database of open recalls.
Collaboration with Manufacturers and Dealerships: To ensure the database's accuracy and comprehensiveness, the state can collaborate with vehicle manufacturers and local dealerships. This partnership will ensure that the database is updated in real-time with the latest recall information.
Digital Integration: To further streamline the process and make it more efficient, the recall check system can be integrated with a digital platform. This will allow vehicle owners to check for recalls online before their inspection, prepare in advance, and address any recalls promptly.
Public Awareness Campaign: To ensure the initiative's success, a public awareness campaign can be launched. This campaign will educate vehicle owners about the importance of addressing recalls and the benefits of the complimentary recall check during their safety inspection.
Feedback System: Post-inspection, vehicle owners can be provided with a feedback system to share their experience with the recall check process. This feedback will be invaluable in refining and improving the system over time in Florida.
At the law firm of Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh, we emphasize the importance of adhering to vehicle recalls, especially those of a critical nature. It's not just about vehicle maintenance; it's about ensuring the safety of all road users. If you or someone you know has been affected by a vehicle recall or has questions about legal rights related to recalls, our team is here to provide guidance and support.
Carfax Vehicle Recall Report: https://www.carfax.com/blog/urgent-recalls
NHTSA Recall Database: https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls
Jeep Official Recall Announcements: https://www.cars.com/research/jeep/recalls/