Car seat recalls are very upsetting to parents in Wellington, City Park and throughout West Palm Beach. A recall reminds parents that the car seat they use to protect their kids may not be infallible and may not provide the promised protection that parents are expected. The consequences of not using a car seat or of a car seat that does not work can be devastating to the safety of a child. In fact, as many as a third of the children age 13 and under who were killed in motor vehicle collisions were not in car seats or were not wearing seat belts at the time of the deadly crash.
An accident lawyer knows that it is very important for manufacturers to try to keep dangerous products off the shelf and to act quickly when a problem comes to light after a car seat has already been sold. Some car seat makers, however, may delay in acting and put kids at further risk of harm.
Car Seat Company Under Investigation
One car seat company that allegedly may have failed to act in a timely manner to recall car seats is the company Graco. Graco has recalled six million car seats due to potential problems with the buckle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was instrumental in getting the car seat manufacturer to act on the recall. The problem with the buckle is that it can become stuck in the latch position, and thus the car seat does not protect kids. The NHTSA believes that this dangerous defect creates an "unreasonable risk" of harm to a child.
The NHTSA believes that Graco should have acted more quickly than it did to recall the car seats. There is a requirement that car makers and makers of accessories like car seats alert the NTHSA to problems within five days of the time that the potential defect is discovered. The NHTSA alleges that Graco failed to fulfill these reporting requirements and alert the agency in a timely manner.
If it turns out that Graco did know about the problem and fail to act quickly to let the NHTSA know, then the car seat company could face civil penalties. The congressionally-established maximum penalty is currently $35 million, which is separate and distinct from any legal damages that Graco may need to pay if victims of its defective car seats sue the company.
The $35 million in penalties may be insufficient to actually act as an effective deterrent to delays and may not convince companies to come forward in a timely fashion. As part of the Grow America Act, which is a four year reauthorization bill, there is a proposal to increase the potential civil penalties to as much as $300 million. Increasing the penalties for a failure to report defects to the NHTSA in a timely manner could help to prevent situations in the future where manufacturers leave potentially dangerous products on the shelf for a longer period of time than is necessary once they identify an issue.
IIf you or a loved one is injured in a traffic accident, visit http://www.davidglatthornlaw.com or contact David J. Glatthorn at 800-990-9394 to discuss your rights. Serving Palm Beach County and all of South Florida.