There are occasions when a vehicle has to be recalled, either by the manufacturer or by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) through a court order due to the following reasons:
- The same type of problem or defect has been identified in a group of vehicles of the same design and same year model;
- The defect poses a risk to the safety of the driver, passengers or anyone else on the road; and,
- The vehicle itself or any of its parts do not comply with the minimum performance requirement standards set by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). These standards make sure that a vehicle can be operated safely and that the driver and passengers would have enough protection from serious injury or death in the event of a crash. The FMVSS has actually set standards for tires, brakes, lighting, child restraints, air bags and safety belts, among others.
Vehicle recalls usually happen due to complaints consumers make to the vehicle manufacturer or to the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI), a department of the NHTSA. In October of 2014, for instance, Chrysler had to recall about 184,215 of its SUVs worldwide due to defective airbags and seat belts; this was besides the more than 850,000 vehicles that Ford already recalled in September of the same year (due to the same problem).
Seat belts keep drivers and passengers from hitting with great force any of a car’s interior parts (such as a door window, dashboard, or windshield) during an accident, thus, providing them with the best protection against serious injuries. Sadly, however, seat belts are not only known as life-saving devices. In some instances, instead of saving lives, these have caused injuries or death – due to defects.
A defective or malfunctioning seat belt may be because of poor manufacturing or poor design. Every year, at least 10,000 (of the more than 30,000) individuals who die in car crashes are said to have died due to faulty seat belts.