Congressman Takes Aim at Vehicle Recall Policies
In 2014, 64 million vehicles were recalled and that is a record. Last week, a reportedly fatal airbag defect resulted in almost 34 million vehicles being recalled in what was the largest recall of any consumer product in U.S. history. One New Jersey congressman said lessons should be learned and he demanded action on his legislation to improve safety and bolster consumer protection.
"The recall policy really is not very good right now and so we want the federal agency that deals with recalls to be able to do it quicker particularly if there's an imminent danger," said Rep. Frank Pallone (D NJ-06). "We want them to have resources so that they can do an investigation and tell people which cars or trucks are being recalled and we want these recalls to be nationwide and not focused just on a particular area of the country."
The agency in charge of vehicle recalls is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In February, Pallone introduced the Vehicle Safety Improvement Act of 2015 (VSIA). It is co-sponsored by Rep. Janice Schakowsky (D-IL).
"We want the NHTSA to get more funding so they can do more investigations (and) have more transparency so that their website is up to date," Pallone said.
Among other things, VISA does the following:
- Requires all recalls happen nationally;
- Gives NHTSA the authority to expedite auto company recalls in the case of an "imminent hazard;"
- Requires manufacturers' safety-related statements about defective parts be made public on NHTSA's website;
- Requires used car dealers to repair safety defects before used cars can be sold.
"The Vehicle Safety Improvement Act of 2015, which we introduced earlier this year, would eliminate regional recalls as well as give NHTSA additional tools and resources to handle these kinds of safety hazards. We urge its passage and enactment as soon as possible," Schakowsky and Pallone wrote in a joint press release.
Pallone was joined at a press conference Tuesday in Middletown by the American Automobile Association.
"Accountability, transparency and full and timely disclosure of any potential safety defect is not negotiable when it comes to motorist safety," said Tracy Noble in an emailed statement. Noble is the manager of Public & Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.