Sudden acceleration is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA's) most prominent complaint on file, but not the only one. Other complaints include passenger and engine compartment fires, rear brake failure and faulty seat backs. By law, car companies are required to notify automobile owners and dealers of any known safety defect and to correct it within a "reasonable" amount of time. To remedy the situation, a manufacturer can either repair the vehicle free of charge, replace it or refund the purchase price less any reasonable depreciation. Manufacturers usually choose to recall the cars for repair. Sometimes NHTSA itself will set the recall process in motion if it receives enough safety complaints about groups of motor vehicles or equipment. If the allegations appear to have merit, an agency engineer will investigate to try to determine the severity and cause of the problem. Then a panel of agency experts reviews the report and decides whether to open a formal investigation. This procedure may prompt a "voluntary recall" on the part of the manufacturer. If necessary, NHTSA can go to court in an effort to compel a manufacturer to remedy a defect. A dealer is not required by law to reimburse repairs made prior to the recall date and is not required to remedy a defect before the effective recall date. An insert with this article shows NHTSA safety recalls in 1986 and 1987 involving 10,000 or more passenger vehicles.

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  • Corporate Authors:

    Kiplinger Washington Editors, Incorporated

    1729 H Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20006
  • Authors:
    • Henry, E
  • Publication Date: 1987-4

Media Info

  • Pagination: p. 47-49
  • Serial:
    • Changing Times
    • Volume: 41
    • Issue Number: 4
    • Publisher: Kiplinger Washington Editors, Incorporated
    • ISSN: 0009-143X

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00491834
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-040 114
  • Files: HSL, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Mar 31 1990 12:00AM