The Department of Transportation is the agency in charge of road conditions while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is in charge of safe vehicles.

Posted in Car Accidents on December 15, 2020

When it comes to the safety of vehicles and the roads, the Department of Transportation is the primary agency in charge of road conditions and safety of roads.  While the DOT is in charge of the roads, there is another agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, also called NHTSA, that is also in charge of driver safety by ensuring that vehicles on the roads are safe as well as safety standards such as child safety seats, vehicle recalls, etc. are also enforced to be in line with Congressional mandates put in place regarding safety.  The NHTSA also works with trauma surgeons, ER doctors, nurses, engineers, as well as actual crash victims to recreate conditions which caused the accident.

How do I know if my car is safe or subject to a recall? 

The NHTSA is an agency that is also proactive for consumers by publishing monthly reports with results of investigations conducted in response to consumer complaints filed regarding vehicle malfunctions.  For instance, a driver files a complaint because the gas pedal got stuck while they were driving.  Upon inspection by a mechanic, the driver was told that it appears to be a defect in the car.  The driver then has the right to contact the NHTSA to let them know that this is a defect in the car and the driver would like to file a formal complaint.  If the NHTSA finds there is merit, they will conduct an investigation and issue a nationwide recall if they deem it necessary.

There have also been instances with SUV’s that required an inspection of trailer hitches because there was an instance of fires occurring during low speed collisions.  This was reported to the NHTSA which caused a recall of over one million vehicles due to this defect.

Does the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have a recall information link? 

If you are a driver who would like to know if the NHTSA has information about a vehicle you own or that you would like to buy, you can go to www.nhtsa.gov/recalls#vin .   Here you will be able to find out if there is any recall on record for a vehicle for the past 15 years.

Does the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have any say in the outcome of my lawsuit?  

While the NHTSA can provide resources during litigation, they cannot provide legal advice, they cannot establish attorney-client privilege, but in the event of litigation that requires expert testimony, an agent from the NHTSA is allowed to submit proof of either an ongoing investigation or appear in court to compel the manufacturer to comply and correct the defect for which they are being sued.

I’VE BEEN INVOLVED IN AN ACCIDENT THAT MAY HAVE BEEN A MANUFACTURER DEFECT…WHAT SHOULD I DO?

If you have been involved in an accident whether or not you have been deemed at fault or not, and you feel the accident happened because there was a safety issue with your vehicle that is also a defect that should be addressed, you can call 888-327-4236.  This is the Department of Transportation’s national safety hotline, but the NHTSA is the agency in charge of handling the complaints and concerns.  This is to ensure the concern is addressed quickly and if need be an investigation and recall issued as soon as possible to ensure safety.  This will not only protect you if you have been found at fault in an accident, but also if you have to go to court because of the accident.  This way, your Atlanta personal injury lawyer can establish that you have raised valid concerns regarding the safety of the vehicle.

All in all, the NHTSA is an agency that is there to ensure we are all safe.  When it comes to vehicle accidents, emotions are high and if you are about to get a lawyer because of an accident that you feel is a result of a manufacturer’s defect, it is imperative that you inform your attorney of this before  you get started because the necessary steps need to be taken to ensure the safety of many.  The NHTSA exists solely to ensure that drivers are as safe as they can possibly be.  Their research has helped enact laws governing child safety seats, airbags, and many other kinds of vehicle safety standards.  They take each complaint and concern very seriously and are not biased in their research and will help consumers get answers to their concerns and will require nationwide recalls if it is necessary.  The best thing you can do is discuss with your attorney your issues and concerns and find out how the NHTSA can assist in the event you need to have an investigation into the safety of your vehicle.

If you have questions about your vehicle or want to know if you have a case, feel free to reach out to our law firm for a free consultation.