Many Minnesotans have been discussing and debating the issues currently plaguing the U.S. government. But unless you have been furloughed from your job as a direct result of the current partial government shutdown, you may not realize just how much it can affect you.
But the truth is that many people all over this and every other state are experiencing some worrisome consequences of the shutdown, and they can hit quite close to home. In fact, you may not have to look any further than your own garage. According to reports, the government shutdown has resulted in the inability of federal agencies to investigate unsafe vehicles or issue recall notices for auto defects.
Work has been halted for employees at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This group is responsible for responding to complaints about vehicle safety and putting out alerts to motorists if a vehicle is unsafe. There are about 20 million cars and trucks that are affected by an estimated 700 recalls issued by the NHTSA every year. With workers at the agency furloughed until the end of the shutdown, they are unable to follow up on current and future safety concerns.
Automotive defects can result in a range of negative and dangerous consequences. Defects in airbags, brake systems, accelerator pedals and seat belts can put a driver and any other passenger in the vehicle at risk. This is why it is crucial that motor vehicles be inspected thoroughly and that consumers are notified of any potential defects through auto recalls.
Because the NHTSA is currently unable to perform these critical functions, drivers in Minnesota and all over the country may be at risk of getting in an accident because of a defective car part. But even if these accidents cannot currently be prevented, it is important to remember that victims continue to have the option of holding a car manufacturer responsible for damages with a product liability claim.
Source: International Business Times, "Government Shutdown 2013: Auto Recalls Halted Due To Furloughed NHTSA Employees, Public At Risk, Says Safety Advocates," Rebecka Schumann, Oct. 10, 2013