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Product Recall for Cars- Consumers Ignore the Warnings

Statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicate that only one in four car owners brings their automobile in for repairs after a safety recall has been issued for their car. Even for products such as child safety seats and tires, manufacturers have noted that the response to a recall can be as low as 30%. Recall data also suggests that as many as 20% of car owners may fail to get repairs because they never hear about the recall.

This is frustrating news not only for the Federal Government but also for manufacturers who are tasked with ensuring product safety.

Eric Bolton, a NHTSA spokesman, notes that the oversight or procrastination can leave the consumers at risk. "It's imperative that the public take recalls seriously and bring cars in for repairs. It's a potentially life- and limb-saving issue for you, your family or even other motorists."

Recalls for car parts can be especially important given that the National Highway Traffic and Safety Association (NHTSA) estimates that up to 40,000 people are killed every year in traffic accidents. In fact, traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for individuals 2 to 34 years old. This statistic can be especially tragic if the accident was caused by a defective product that had been recalled.

Experts suggest that cars are built better than they may have been 20 or 30 years ago, and defects in vehicles may have been reduced by as much as 70% since 1987 (J.D. Power and Associates' Initial Quality Study). While this is great news, groups tasked with notifying the consumer of recalls admit that more needs to be done to ensure consumer’s safety.

Keeping Consumers in the Loop

With all the information and data that most consumers have to review, how can car manufacturers, dealers and agencies ensure that consumers have the most recent recall information? Many groups are encouraging consumers to sign-up for recall notification services.

Companies such as Carfax also now provide recall information for free and vehicle information for a small fee. Potential buyers may even be able to use the VIN number of a vehicle to determine if it has been part of a recall due to a defect.

State auto registration databases are also used by some automakers to track car owners if their vehicle is part of a recall, but this method may be less effective if the car is older or if it has been sold to multiple owners.

Auto Safety’s Ditlow claims the onus may be on the consumer as well as the manufacturer to find out about recalls. In fact, this group claims that consumers should make it a point to talk to the dealer when they bring their car in for scheduled repairs each year. Of course, it is up to the repair shop and the dealership to ensure that car repair technicians have the latest technical service bulletins or recall information so they can understand the latest repair and recall issues.

Product Liability Claims

If you have been injured from a defective product or a product that was manufactured incorrectly and you have suffered injury or loss, you may be able to file a product injury claim and receive compensation for your loss.

Meet with a product liability lawyer and find out if you have a claim. Manufacturers, sellers, and distributors have the legal obligation to create, design, manufacture and distribute products which, when they are used as intended, do not injure consumers.

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