Attorney General’s Office Announces New York Car Dealership Investigation

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Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death and injury in the workplace, and the cost of a single accident could easily exceed $1.4 million. And while most accidents are caused by distracted or negligent drivers, many accidents can also be attributed to mechanical errors.

One such case in the auto industry recently led to the New York Attorney General’s Office announcing a settlement with several car dealerships in Rochester, New York that failed to alert their customers about safety recalls that may have impacted purchasing decisions.

So far, there are 104 dealerships statewide that have made agreements with the Attorney General’s Office, which include 16 from Rochester, according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. He said that the investigation by his office demonstrated that affected vehicles all over the state have been purchased by unknowing consumers.

Some auto recalls are extremely high profile, such as the recent scandal involving Volkswagen diesel-fueled cars. While cars with diesel engines are 20% to 40% more efficient than their gasoline counterparts, Volkswagen was caught cheating emissions tests. Yet the Volkswagen emissions scandal was just one of 868 auto recalls that occurred in 2015, many of which went unnoticed by drivers.

Potential problems include airbag issues, car fires, unintended acceleration, and brake and steering loss. Considering the fact that the average American has traveled 302 miles in the past seven days, unknowingly driving a vehicle with recalled parts can have seriously dangerous results.

“The safety recalls we uncovered were serious — and potentially deadly. Customers deserve to know of any unresolved safety issues before buying a car for themselves or their family,” said Schneiderman in a statement.

As per the terms of the settlement, several steps will be taken to ensure the customer’s awareness in regards to purchasing a vehicle with any existing recall issues that have yet to be repaired.

“I encourage all auto dealerships across the state to follow our guidelines to ensure that they too uphold the highest standards of consumer safety,” said Schneiderman. “This is an important first step towards making all cars on New York’s roads safer.”

For now, car buyers can check the auto recall database provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to see if a particular vehicle contains recalled parts.