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Transportation Secretary Asks Congress to Authorize New Enforcement Tools for NHTSA; Levies Fine on Takata For Faulty Airbag Systems

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator Mark Rosekind have teamed up with elected officials, representatives from the rental car industry and consumer safety advocates, to ask Congress to pass legislation that would require rental car agencies and used car dealers to fix safety defects before renting or selling vehicles subject to a recall, according to a press release issued by NHTSA.

Proposed by the safety watchdog, the GROW AMERICA Act would require rental car agencies to fix all safety defects currently under recall before renting a vehicle. The act would require used car dealers to do the same before selling a vehicle. Under current federal laws, new cars must be fixed before being put up for sale. Despite the efforts made, no similar federal provision exists for rental car agencies or used car dealers.

“Every vehicle under an open safety recall should be repaired as soon as possible,” Secretary Foxx said in a statement. “Requiring rental car agencies and used car dealers to fix defective vehicles before renting is a common-sense solution that would make our roads safer. Safety advocates and the rental car industry have taken a stand for safety, and we need Congress to do so as well.”
Foxx announced this week, a $14,000 per day fine against airbag manufacturer Takata for failing to fully cooperate with the NHTSA’s ongoing investigation into the company’s defective airbags.

“Safety is a shared responsibility and Takata’s failure to fully cooperate with our investigation is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” Foxx said. “For each day that Takata fails to fully cooperate with our demands, we will hit them with another fine. But, it’s not enough. I am asking Congress to pass the GROW AMERICA Act which would provide the tools and resources needed to change the culture of safety for bad actors like Takata.”

Since the recall was issued, Takata has not fully cooperated with the NHTSA’s investigation.

Consumers can determine if the vehicle they plan to rent or buy has an open recall that needs to be addressed by using NHTSA’s free VIN look-up tool on safercar.gov where uncompleted recalls are quickly and easily identified by entering the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

While a major push has been made to remedy unsafe cars, the fact remains that the consumer market is plagued with issues stemming from negligent products manufacturers. Carmakers, like all consumer products manufacturers, are responsible for ensuring that their products are mechanically safe and do not pose a threat to consumers. And when car companies fail at making sure their cars are safe, they are liable if and when an individual is injured because of their negligence.

At Altman & Altman LLP, our seasoned Products Liability Attorneys have nearly 50 years of knowledge and experience handling all types of defective products and products liability cases, and we have the skills to fight against large consumer products companies so that our clients achieve the highest financial compensation for their injuries. If you or a loved was injured as the result of a faulty product, call our office today to speak to an attorney to discuss your legal options and whether you might qualify for a products liability claim. All initial consultations are completely free of charge and of no obligation to you. Our team of lawyers is available around the clock to answer any and all questions you may have about your case.

Read the full press release here.