Buyers Take Note: The Feds Can’t Stop Defective Vehicles From Being Sold
Automakers are putting defective airbags into new vehicles, despite the fact that the car manufacturers know the airbags have serious problems. The Department of Transportation (DOT) is aware that this is happening. Despite knowing that cars are being made and sold with a known defect, the DOT cannot do anything about it.
The lack of authority on the part of the DOT in this situation helps to illustrate why so many problem cars are on the road. Car dealers know, but don't care, that the parts in the cars are defective and regulators cannot stop them. Unfortunately, it is consumers who suffer when cars with defects are sold to the public. The Lemon Law can protect car buyers in Los Angeles and all throughout California, but often legal counsel will be needed to take advantage of lemon law protection in appropriate situations.
The Federal Government Cannot Stop Car Defects
The Hill reported on the inability of the federal government to stop car makers from putting problematic air bags into new vehicles. An investigation conducted by Senator Bill Nelson revealed that at least four different automobile manufacturers are still using Takata airbags with a non-desiccated ammonia-nitrate inflator.
The inflators can explode when the force of an impact is too great, sending shards of metal flying through the car. This problem is well-known, as airbag issues have been linked to around 100 injuries and 13 deaths. Yet, the car dealers are using the airbags anyway.
The Department of Transportation cannot stop this from happening, as the head of the DOT told lawmakers the agency has no actual power to prevent the car dealers from putting the defective airbags into the cars.
There is a provision that was included in last year's surface highway transportation bill which prohibits a car manufacturer from selling a vehicle that contains recalled items. This should create legal authority to take action when car dealers decide to do something, like put dangerous airbags into cars. However, the problem is, the new airbags are safer than the older model airbags, so they aren't currently under an active recall. The focus is on repairing the most dangerous airbags now, so the newer models will not be recalled until 2019.
The fact the airbags are not yet under formal recall has prevented the Department of Transportation from taking action against automakers who are still installing defective parts. The DOT also has no power to mandate that car makers tell customers if there is an item on their new vehicle which is expected to be recalled in the future.
Since the federal agency responsible for traffic safety does not have the authority to adequately protect the public by ensuring these cars are not sold, many more consumers are being put at risk of buying a car with a serious problem.
For any car buyer who ends up with a vehicle that is defective or in need of extensive repairs, it is a good idea to talk with a Los Angeles lemon law lawyer to find out whether there are options available to seek remedies for the problem car.