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Recalled Vehicles and Defective Equipment Highlight Accident Risks

Jan 22, 2013 - Birmingham, Car Accidents, Dangerous Products/Liability by

Last year, more than 650 vehicle and vehicle product recalls were issued, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. emptyroad

Our Birmingham personal injury attorneys understand that of the total 664 recalls, 586 were for the entire vehicle, 56 were for the vehicle equipment, 4 were for child safety seats and 18 were tire recalls.

Overall, this is a slight increase from the number of recalls we had in the previous year (654), though the number has fluctuated greatly in the last 10 years, with as many as 781 (in 2008) and as few as 506 (in 2002).

In all, last year’s recalls affected nearly 18 million vehicles, vehicle equipment and child safety seats. The NHTSA reported that of those, the agency was instrumental in pushing for the recall of 9 million vehicles and some 60,000 units of vehicle equipment, including child safety seats and tires. Essentially, what that means is that nearly half of these companies would not have necessarily done the right thing on their own – government regulators had to push for it.

While it’s good news that faulty and potentially dangerous products were taken off the market, it’s troubling that it took a government push to make it happen. Even more, a fair number of those recalls were initiated by consumers who contacted the NHTSA to complain – meaning the products had already caused harm.

The federal regulator reported that last year, about 42,000 complaints were made regarding defective vehicles and defective vehicle products. That’s a slight decrease from 2011, when there were about 50,000 complaints. An NHTSA spokesman called consumers the “lifeblood” of the whole recall process.

The top vehicle manufacturers initiating recalls last year were Toyota (12 recalls, 5.3 million vehicles), Honda (16 recalls, 3.4 million vehicles), General Motors (17 recalls, 1.5 million vehicles), Ford (24 recalls, 1.4 million vehicles) and Chrysler (13 recalls, 1.3 million vehicles). That’s somewhat unsurprising, given the fact that they tend to be the top-sellers in the American market. However, with those sales come an obligation of the utmost importance: the safety of the consumer and others who share the road.

Ford, which had the most recalls last year, only initiated the process once it was discovered that some as-yet-identified defect in its Escape and Fusion models led to at least 13 vehicle fires. Thankfully, no injuries were reported, but that’s likely just blind luck. Other recalls involved carpet that blocks the gas pedal (in the Escape) and coolant that leaked from a freeze plug.

In fact, the Ford company has had 92 recalls in the past three years. (Chevrolet has had 70 and Toyota 68.)

As one New York marketing professor noted to media late last year, it begs the question of whether Ford has a serious quality problem.

If so, it appears they are far from the only one.

Additional Resources:

NHTSA Announces More Than 17.8 Million Products Recalled in 2012, Jan. 17, 2013, Karen Aldana, Press Release, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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