Vehicle recalls in the United States hit another record last year with more than 51 million cars, trucks and SUVs recalled. According to an Associated Press news report, the agency recorded almost 900 separate recalls in 2015 beating the previously set record of 803 in 2014.
The number was much higher largely due to automakers reaction to unprecedented fines slapped on automakers and part manufactures such as Fiat Chrysler, General Motors and Takata for reporting safety issues too slowly. A majority of the recalls in 2015 involved small numbers of vehicles as manufactured moved more swiftly to fix safety issues.
The Takata recalls, which began in 2014 and extended well into 2015 and are still continuing were by far the biggest contributor to the new record, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Takata makes airbag inflators that can explode with too much force and send shrapnel flying into drivers and passengers.
So far, eight people worldwide have died and more than 100 have been seriously injured by the exploding inflators. NHTSA has warned that there will be more Takata recalls in the future.
“Safe Cars Save Lives”
Government officials are warning that this will be the trend in the future where NHTSA will work to identify defects faster and make sure they get fixed. NHTSA’s administrator, Mark Rosekind, has also announced a digital advertising campaign urging people to keep their families safe by not ignoring the recalls and getting repairs done in a timely manner.
The yearlong campaign called “Safe Cars Save Lives” promotes the use of NHTSA’s search engine that allows drivers to enter their cars’ vehicle identification numbers (VIN) to find out if their recalled vehicles have been repaired. The agency also announced it is working on regulations that could add text messages, emails and social media to the current method of notifying owners of recalled vehicles by mail.
Automakers repair about 75 percent of cars covered by a recall over 18 months on average. That means that 25 percent of the vehicles that are recalled for safety problems such as faulty airbags, defective seatbelts, faulty seatbacks, tires and brakes, go unrepaired.
Auto Product Liability Issues
If you or a loved one has been injured by an auto defect, it is important that you understand your legal rights. You can seek compensation for your injuries, damages and losses by filing a product liability claim against the automaker or the manufacturer of the defective products. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Families of deceased victims can seek compensation as well by filing a wrongful death claim. The best auto defect law firms will have the resources and access to expertise that is required to conduct independent investigations and help strengthen your case against negligent manufacturers.