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Identifying defective auto equipment

Motor vehicle accidents kill thousands of people every year and are the leading cause of severe injuries in the United Stated. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration attempts to reduce accidents by issuing safety standards and recalling vehicles that fail to meet these standards or are defective. Recall campaigns are important for motorists in Kentucky and other states, and more than 66 million auto parts have been recalled by the NHTSA due to defects.

A piece of automobile equipment is considered defective by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards when an item that influences the safe operation of a vehicle does not meet minimum performance standards or there is a safety defect. This may apply to lighting, tires, brakes, seat belts and air bags, among other equipment.

Motor vehicles are considered safe when their design, performance and construction protect the public from unreasonable risk of accidents, death and injuries. Safety-related defects may occur when parts fail or break and cause loss of control to a vehicle, leaking fuel components cause fires, air bags unintentionally deploy or windshield wipers do not work properly.

Many defective auto parts are not recalled until people have already suffered injuries or died due to accidents that indicate a product is unsafe. When one suffers injury or is killed due to a dangerous product, a victim or a victim's family may be able to seek compensation from a manufacturer for medical bills and funeral costs because of product liability.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, "Motor Vehicle Defects and Safety Recalls: What Every Vehicle Owner Should Know", November 23, 2014

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