(Guest contributor – for the information of our American readers)
One of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents are defects that are sometimes recalled – and sometimes are not. Safety recalls can be initiated by the USA’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or by the motorcycle manufacturer themselves. A recall happens when a manufacturer discovers that there is a defect in a motorcycle, makes owners aware of the defect and offers to fix it free of charge.
If you own a motorcycle, then it is important that you understand what obligations the manufacturer has to notify you if there is a potentially hazardous defect and what your obligations are to have them fixed.
What are the manufacturer’s obligations and duties and what are the NHTSA’s?
Regardless of whether the recall is initiated through the NHTSA or through the manufacturer, the manufacturer is obligated to file a public report that describes:
- The equipment or vehicle that is involved in the recall
- The safety hazard that it can cause or how the defect doesn’t comply with safety standards
- What major events led to the recall being initiated
- A description of how the safety issue can be addressed and fixed
- A schedule for how the recall is going to be performed
The manufacturer has an obligation to identify who owns the motorcycles that are being recalled or the equipment that is equipped on the motorcycles that have been purchased. This is a lengthy process which is done by merging their record of sales alongside the purchaser’s vehicle registration records that are on file with the state’s DMV.
If it is equipment that is being recalled, state registration records might not exist at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Therefore, the manufacturer has to go one step further to notify the distributor of the equipment to find any purchaser who might have the equipment that is defective.
Even if you did not directly receive a recall notification, you have the right to bring your motorcycle to a dealership to have it repaired. The manufacturer responsible for the defective part is obligated to fix it for no cost.
Federal law mandates that a manufacturer must remedy a safety issue at no expense to the consumer. The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration are responsible for carefully monitoring any safety recall that is put into motion. They require that a manufacturer follow the strict guidelines outlined in the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, and any additional federal laws and regulations about motorcycle recalls.
What to do to ensure that your motorcycle isn’t affected or recalled without you knowing
Since it is sometimes impossible for the manufacturer to track down all the people who own vehicles that come with defective or dangerous parts, if you own a motorcycle it is important that you do your due diligence to check out for recalls periodically, so that you are aware if you are driving a motorcycle that has the potential to be in a collision. The NHTSA is required to release information monthly listing any potential hazards that might be posed, and any recalls that have been put into place. Glancing at their report monthly is a good idea to keep up-to-date and to ensure that you aren’t putting yourself into danger.
If you notice that a part on your motorcycle has been recalled, the government does suggest that you wait to receive the documentation to take to the dealership to get it repaired instead of heading straight off to get it fixed. If you have the right documentation in place, then the fix will probably happen more quickly.
If you have waited for recall information or you know that tracing you will probably be difficult due to your state’s registry, then it is a good idea for you to talk to a motorcycle accident lawyer ,to call the recall hotline and to find out what information you need regarding the recall and how to get your vehicle fixed so that you can head back out on the roads safe and sound.
It is the manufacturer’s responsibility to notify the consumer about a defect and to fix it, but it is your responsibility to bring your motorcycle in to be repaired. Make sure you know if your motorcycle has a problem that can potentially put you in danger by being vigilant and checking the website for recalls periodically.