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NHTSA investigates unsafe motorcycles sold in U.S.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration launched an investigation of the largest U.S. Honda manufacturer after allegations surfaced that they have been selling unsafe motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes. The Honda dealership said they have sold ATVs and other vehicles to buyers in all 50 states so the findings of the investigation could be very critical to many Americans.

A former marketing consultant who worked for the Honda marketing department informed federal regulatory agencies that 25,000 new motorcycles, ATVs and dirt bikes were sold to the public despite safety issues and public recalls of the unsafe vehicles.

The former marketing consultant and several other Honda manufacturing employees told investigators that the Honda dealership sold thousands of unsafe vehicles under safety recalls from 2004 until 2010 without fixing the problems before they were sold. The NHTSA started their investigation because if the allegations are true, potentially thousands of people in the U.S. could be riding unsafe vehicles that could result in serious or fatal accidents.

The employees signed notarized affidavits that the Honda manufacturer had a disregard for vehicle safety. The employees allege that Honda was aware of the unsafe assembly of vehicles and that recalled vehicles were being sold by the nation's largest Honda dealership. Other allegations include claims that vehicle assemblers were not trained properly and did not follow the manufacturer's checklists to ensure safety. They also claim the sales department did not go over the safety checklists with customers after they purchased one of the vehicles.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission did send a letter to the Honda dealership stating that the dealership sold recalled ATVs and motorcycles without repairing the safety problems first. The CPSC requested that the dealership immediately stop selling the recalled vehicles before repairing them and to contact all customers who had purchased a recalled vehicle.

The Honda dealership said they sent out postcards warning customers about the recalled vehicles but only 10 percent of buyers came back to repair their vehicle.

The NHTSA investigation is still on-going but federal and state agencies will be anxious to hear about the reported findings once their investigation is complete. If the allegations are true, Honda could be held liable for any accidents and fatalities caused by customers riding their unsafe vehicles.

Source: USA Today, "Allegations of 'unsafe' motorcycles probed," Gary Stroller, Oct. 28, 2012

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