Motor vehicles are one of the biggest industries to issue frequent safety recalls. A safety recall is usually initiated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but it can also be instigated by the manufacturer that recognizes the defect. A safety recall goes into effect when there is a defect in the design or operation of any vehicle, and it’s believed that the defect can predispose someone to an accident or injury.
It is important for both manufacturers and owners to talk to a Houston motorcycle accident attorney to understand what their rights and obligations are regarding motorcycle recalls issued in the Houston area due to defects in the motorcycles.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Manufacturer’s Duties
Regardless of who initiates the recall — whether it is the manufacturer themselves or the recall is ordered by the NHTSA — the manufacturer is required to fill out a report to the public that includes all the information necessary regarding the defect. The report also must contain information about why it is being recalled. Other mandatory information that is required in the public report is:
- The noncompliance or safety issue that is not in accord with federal motorcycle safety guidelines
- Which part of the equipment or vehicle is involved in the motorcycle recall
- The events that led to the discovery of the recall being necessary
- A description of how they intend to rectify the defect
- An outline of the scheduled repairs
For motorcycle defects, the manufacturer has the responsibility of attempting to contact the owners of the recalled model or who have the equipment installed on their vehicle. This is an extensive process; it involves the manufacturer using records from both the vehicle purchasers and vehicle registration records, which are on file at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
If the recall is for equipment, and no records exist to find the owners who are subject to the recall, the manufacturer is required to directly notify anyone who is in their distribution chain and all of the purchasers of the defective equipment. If you own a motorcycle that has the defect, even if you do not personally receive a recall update or information about the recalled part or component, the manufacturer is still obligated to remedy or fix the defect at no expense to you.
Motorcycle recalls and defects laws require manufacturers to fix any defective components or part at no cost to the purchaser or consumer. The NHTSA is responsible for closely monitoring the recall process in accordance with the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, along with other federal guidelines in place.
Motorcycle Recalls and the NHTSA
It is the responsibility of the NHTSA to publicize the recall so that anyone who might own the defective part or vehicle is aware of any safety concerns that exist. Although the recall encourages the consumer to take action to rectify the situation, the consumer is not under any obligation to follow through with the repair or replacement. Typically, it is easier for the owner to wait for the dealership or manufacturer to call and schedule the repair, to ensure that they have the necessary parts available to remedy the recall.
If you are looking for up-to-date recall information about motorcycles in the Houston area, there is a hotline run by the NHTSA. You can contact it by calling 888.327.4236 or by going to the website at http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov. They are both excellent resources to get information about how to get your motorcycle repaired if it is involved in a recall, or to get help if you are having problems with the manufacturer fixing your recalled vehicle. There are also times when reports are made about the safety of a vehicle that has nothing to do with a recall. To ensure that you have all the information about the safety of your motorcycle and its operation, it is a good idea to check the website annually to ensure that you aren’t missing anything.
Motorcycle recalls are a very expensive proposition for manufacturers, and they can also be a headache for owners of the recalled vehicles. Although they can sometimes be a pain, it is important for your own safety to remedy a defective component of your motorcycle if it is recalled.