Frustrated regulators trying to increase vehicle recall awareness

The frustration is perhaps understandable. It is a struggle for the federal government to get automakers to cooperate with recalls of potentially dangerous vehicles. So when a recall is issued and consumers are alerted to safety defects, the frustration sets in among regulators when relatively few Americans take their cars to dealers for needed repairs.

Reuters reports that National Highway Transportation Safety Administration chief Mark Rosekind recently began an effort to increase recall participation, kicking off a free event in which consumers can have their vehicles' VIN checked for recalls, as well as tires and child safety seats inspected as well.

The event was far from us in New York, held under a sweltering Florida sun in a parking lot. While the muggy setting was not ideal, it helped reinforce a point: heat and humidity raise the risk that recalled Takata airbags will rupture and injure vehicle occupants.

But there are plenty of other safety defects in vehicles rolling down our nation's roads and streets. More than 100 million vehicles have been recalled in just the past two years. But the NHTSA estimates that only 20 to 30 percent of the vehicles were brought in for free repairs.

Reuters reports that about half of the vehicles checked out at the recent NHTSA event were subject to recalls that their owners had not taken advantage of.

One man who had driven a 2008 Honda to the event learned that it is equipped with a recalled Takata air bag inflator. He said he had never even heard of the company.

Far too often, consumers learn of defective products when they or family members are harmed by an unsafe automobile, child safety seat or other item. They can fight back with the help of an attorney experienced in product liability litigation.

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