Compliance with prevailing safety standards alone won’t be enough to prevent a recall from being ordered by U.S. government safety regulators.
On top of that, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) says it will also compare vehicles in question against state-of-the-art safety designs. Vehicles that prove to fall behind their competition may be subject to a recall campaign in spite of meeting minimum safety requirements.
“It really is based on the notion of unreasonable risk. And that is an evolving notion,” NHTSA administrator David Strickland told Automotive News.”If state of the art moves all the peers in one direction, and it appears that there is another part of the fleet that has not made those same moves or improvements,” NHTSA will reassess potential risks.
SEE ALSO: Chrysler Refuses to Recall 2.7M Jeeps
The statement comes after Chrysler battled a requested recall campaign affecting 2.7 million Jeep vehicles. In that case, the gas tanks were positioned behind the real axle, which poses a fire risk in rear-end collisions.
Chrysler argued that the vehicles met safety standards at the time they were built, but a NHTSA survey that examined 74 vehicles from the 2002 and 2003 model years shows only four vehicles with gas tanks in the same position.
NHTSA and Chrysler eventually compromised and the automaker announced a recall that would add tow hitches to affected vehicles; a fix the automaker expressed a cynical view toward, saying it wouldn’t be any help in high-impact crashes.
[Source: Automotive News]