The news and headlines are frequently filled with reports of various cars
and trucks being recalled. While this isn't all that unusual –
automobiles are recalled quite regularly for one reason or another –
you may have noticed that these types of stories are popping up more often
than they usually do. This is because 2014 has seen a record-setting number
of auto recalls from a number of manufacturers – an estimated
56 million according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
That's about three times more than the projected number of new car
and truck purchases in the U.S. this year.
Although recalls are made for different reasons – some not as serious
as others – this year has seen several issues and defective auto
parts which have been considered a serious threat to public safety. Two
recent recalls include:
Defective Airbags – In the past several months, concerns have increased dramatically
over defective airbags. The airbags in question are manufactured by Takata
Corporation and have been found to malfunction and explode during deployment,
sending shrapnel flying toward vehicle occupants. Several injuries and
deaths have been linked to Takata airbags and nearly 7.8 million vehicle
recalls. At the end of October, the NHTSA issued a
consumer advisory urging vehicle owners with defective airbags to take immediate action.
Defective Ignition Switches – General Motors has made headlines for some time over their defective ignition
switches and their failures to address the issue. The faulty ignition
switches have the potential to switch out of the "on" position
and into the "accessory" mode, which can cause power to be shut
off to a vehicle's engine, power steering, brakes, and airbags. Numerous
injuries have been linked to this defect, and GM has officially recognized
32 deaths caused by the defective ignition switch, with figures expected to rise.
Making Sure You're Safe
The serious nature of auto recalls and the many preventable tragedies they
cause should make everyone more aware that when automakers issue recalls,
they deserve our attention. Here are a few tips to help make sure you
and your passengers are safe from recalls:
Recall Notifications – By law, auto manufacturers are required to alert vehicle owners
when there is a safety recall, what the recall involves, and what they
can do to get their vehicle serviced. If you own your car or truck, make
sure you watch out for these recall notifications – don't just
trash them as spam mail. Recall notifications should be clearly marked.
Look Online – If you haven't received a recall notification, aren't sure
if a recall issue has been fixed, or are just generally concerned, you
can take measures into your own hands and check online. Safety experts
suggest visiting your auto manufacturer's website or, better yet,
using the online NHTSA VIN search tool.
Buying or Renting – Make recall research about any vehicles you're considering
buying or renting part of your process. You can check the policies of
rental car agencies to see if they rent recalled vehicles or use the NHTSA
VIN search before buying or renting any vehicle. If a recall issue hasn't
been addressed for a car you plan on buying, you may even be able to use
this to negotiate a lower price!
If you have questions about auto recalls,
defective products, or your rights after an
auto accident, our personal injury lawyers are available to help. Contact Fibich, Leebron,
Copeland, Briggs & Josephson to discuss your case.