Vehicle Safety Recalls Are Often Ignored

A recent study by Carfax indicated that more than 63 million vehicles in the United States (one in four vehicles on the road) are being driven with unfixed safety recalls. J.D. Power and Associates estimated the number to be 45 million vehicles, while acknowledging the total could be higher due to older recalls that are difficult to track.

Why Are Vehicle Safety Recalls Often Ignored?

When vehicle safety recalls are delivered, many people put off addressing the issue or ignore it altogether due to inconvenience, lack of time, or perhaps not realizing the danger associated with some recalls. If they don’t own the car anymore, some prior owners just discard the notice.

When a car is sold, the owner should, but often doesn’t, notify the manufacturer that there is a new owner. So, subsequent owners may be unaware that their car was recalled for a safety issue.

Consequences of Failing to Fix a Vehicle Safety Defect

Vehicle safety recalls issued by manufacturers alert owners when safety-related defects are discovered. It can happen at any time in the life cycle of a vehicle. Recalls involve issues ranging from minor to life-threatening. Exploding airbags is one example of a life-threatening safety issue that has been subject to a recall.

A car accident can result from the failure to fix a safety defect. In the case of the exploding air bags, the safety recall involves defective inflator and propellent devices that may deploy improperly during an accident, shooting metal fragments into the vehicle and possibly its occupants. According to Car and Driver, 11 deaths and 184 injuries have occurred in the U.S. due to the defective air bags as of October 2016.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 42 million U.S. vehicles may be impacted by the Takata air bag safety recall. According to the NHTSA, Takata air bags are subject to recall due to a “safety defect that may cause the air bag inflators to explode,” causing serious injury or death.

What Can Be Done To Increase Compliance With Safety Recalls?

Owners who buy a used vehicle should register the vehicles with the manufacturer so they will be contacted in the event of a safety recall. In addition, the NHTSA website offers a recall search to see if there are outstanding recalls on vehicles.