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South Florida Car Consumers Must Conduct Their Own Safety Research

You get into your car.

You automatically check your mirrors.

You make sure the seat is in the correct position.

But you don’t expect that you’ll have to assess whether the car has major mechanical defects. That’s the government’s job, right?

A new report from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) suggests motorists are wrong to assume full faith in government oversight of vehicle defects.

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Our Deerfield Beach car accident lawyers have been closely following the news about the recall of millions of Toyota and Lexus vehicles, amid reports of faulty accelerators that were to blame in a number of accidents.

It was originally believed that faulty electrical wiring was responsible for pedals that jammed or got stuck, leading to unintentional acceleration. However, the National Highway Safety Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) hired scientists from NASA to research the issue. No electrical problems were uncovered.

But now, the NHSTA is facing scrutiny of its own from the NAS for the fact that an outside firm had to be brought on to conduct the research.

The NAS criticized the federal traffic administration for not having enough in-house expertise to address the issue, according to CNN.

The NAS agreed with the agency that there was a lack of evidence to support a claim of electrical malfunction in the vehicles. But it also determined NHSTA should have been able to reach that conclusion on its own.

“It is troubling that the concerns associated with unintended acceleration evolved into questions about electronics safety that NHTSA could not answer convincingly, necessitating a request for extensive technical assistance from NASA,” CNN quoted the report as saying.

Considering that auto manufacturers rely on high-tech electronic systems for their own purposes, the NAS said the agency tapped to act as a government watchdog of the industry should employ at least the same level of expertise.

That’s why it’s critical that drivers in South Florida and throughout the country be proactive in their own research regarding their vehicle’s safety.

Our West Palm Beach car accident lawyers know that not everyone is a natural mechanic. Still there are steps that car consumers can take when purchasing a vehicle that will improve their chances for safety and potentially avoid crashes in Deerfield Beach and elsewhere.

To start, Safercar.gov, a division of the national Department of Transportation, annually rates most vehicles on the market for safety standards. This includes how each make and model withstands frontal crashes, side crashes and rollovers.

In response to a high number of fatal crashes over the years, many manufacturers are building vehicles with safety standards that exceed the minimum federal guidelines.

But you can improve your chances by asking the following questions, suggested by the federal DOT, when purchasing a vehicle:

–What features does this car have that will help me avoid a crash?
–If I am in a crash, how well will this vehicle protect me? For example, will the side airbag protect my front passenger’s head and abdomen?
–If I’m in a single-vehicle crash, what is the likelihood this car will roll over?
–What are the additional advanced safety features of this car?

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident in Deerfield Beach, Lake Worth, Hollywood, Sunrise, St. Lucie or the surrounding areas, contact a personal injury lawyer at Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC. Call 1-800-561-7777 for a free consultation with an experienced attorney today.

Additional Resources:

U.S. auto safety agency NHTSA needs improvement – study says, by Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNN

Safercar.gov

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