At least 45 million vehicles – about one in six licensed to operate on U.S. roads – suffers from an unrepaired safety problem subject to an outstanding recall. In fact, the figure could be millions higher, according to new research by J.D. Power and Associates, but it can be difficult to track compliance rates on older recalls.
The study is in line with other recent research and reflects the fact that the U.S. has seen an explosion in safety-related recalls in recent years for everything from improperly inflated tires to airbags that can overinflate in a crash, spewing deadly shrapnel into the passenger compartments. There have been faulty ignition switches, leaky gas tanks and corrosion-prone vehicles that can drop bumpers and parts into the path of traffic.
The number of vehicles being targeted by recalls continues to grow at or near record rates. One reason is that NHTSA has adopted a much tougher policy on safety problems in the wake of scandals like the GM ignition switches, Toyota’s unintended acceleration issues, Fiat Chrysler’s problem with Jeep fires, and the Takata airbag mess. The latter could eventually come to encompass more than 50 million vehicles.
And that reveals another reason why recalls are growing larger, on average, while repair rates lag. In recent decades, manufacturers have put a premium on so-called “economies of scale.” And that means they routinely share things like airbags, brakes and other mechanical components. So, where a recall might once have affected a single model and perhaps 10,000 vehicles, it may now cover millions, even tens of millions of vehicles, like the Takata airbag problem.
Vehicle malfunctions are preventable, so are the injuries and fatalities they cause. The Pisanchyn Law Firm has recently held GM responsible for their faulty ignition switches resulting in a $1.9 million settlement for the family of a Dunmore man after years of GM denying any wrong-doing.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a car recall or a vehicle malfunction call our accident attorneys now for a free consultation, 1-800-444-5309.
Make sure your car is safe
The NHTSA now requires all manufacturers to make it easy for owners to check if their vehicles are subject to an outstanding recall. You’ll find that on their public websites, as well as the government’s own, SaferCars.gov. You’ll just need the Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN. You can find it on your registration, as well as on a tag at the base of the windshield.