Americans Can Not Depend on the Government to Protect Them from Dangerous Products
Protection from dangerous protects on the market these days is just about non-existent. Hardly encouraging for the consumer.
Albuquerque, NM (Law Firm Newswire) July 1, 2010 -“Pick up just about any newspaper
these days and there is yet another story about a defective product that was recalled because it poses a danger to consumers. It’s not just one type of product either; it runs the gamut from cars to kid’s jewelry, from food to tires, and from baby accessories to furniture. No wonder consumers are starting to ask some very pointed questions about government involvement in protecting them from harm,” observed Scott Atkinson, a New Mexico personal injury lawyer.
Let’s just flash back to when the first of Toyota’s runaway vehicles caused a major furor in the country and caused several deaths. What was the role of the government in regulating car makers (or other manufacturers) to protect the consumers? Or put another way, why didn’t government regulations avert that catastrophe? “And if you’ve read the news more recently, Toyota is now recalling about 270,000 cars, including luxury Lexus sedans, with faulty engines that may stall when moving,” Atkinson remarked.
“So the auto industry isn’t exactly in great shape right now, but the recall issue could just as easily have involved cribs, paint, drugs, boats, toys or medical devices. The issue here is the same, whether or not consumers may rely on the government to keep them safe,” reiterated Atkinson.
Unfortunately, the reality is that the government isn’t able to keep consumers safe from defective products largely because there are far too many to tackle and not enough inspectors and regulators to keep up with the market. The hardcore reality is that there are thousands of products sold in just the US and no one could possibly keep up with them all.
“And there is one other very telling reason at play here – most manufacturers (if they are large enough, like Toyota) have more resources and funds than the government; an obvious plus for their camp,” added Atkinson. The best example is how totally overwhelmed the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) was when the Toyota sudden acceleration and braking issues hit the media.
The plain facts are that back when Reagan was President, departments that had regulators to protect consumers had their funding cut over and over and over. “Would you believe for instance that the current budget for the NHTSA is half what it used to be in 1980? That’s pretty scary stuff. What is even more frightening (at least in the Toyota case) is that Toyota’s regulatory affairs department is operated by two people who used to work for NHTSA,” said Atkinson.
Certainly not all situations involving product recalls are on the scale of Toyota or involve other issues like politics and money, but suffice it to say that it happens often enough that Americans have almost come to expect that whatever they buy won’t work and may have the potential to harm them. “If you’re in a situation where a product has hurt you or a family member, give me a call, I would be happy to explain the ins and outs of defective product law,” suggested Atkinson, a New Mexico personal injury lawyer.
Atkinson Law Firm, LTD
9400 Holly Ave. NE, Bldg. 4
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87122
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