Record vehicle recalls of automobiles from 2013 to 2015 have left an enormous number of unrepaired vehicles still operating on roads and highways all across the U.S. according to the global marketing services firm, J.D. Powers.
During the record recall period over 109 million vehicles were recalled. Of that number 40 percent of them remain on the road without the necessary repairs being made to the defects. That equates to over 45 million potentially injurious cars, trucks and SUV’s on the roads and highways.
Parts standardization, as evident with the Takata airbag system, have resulted in the same parts being installed into millions of vehicles made by as many as a dozen different manufacturers. When the danger of the Takata inflator mechanisms exploding with deadly impact was discovered, the parts were already installed in over 100 million vehicles worldwide.
Another recall was recently announced regarding the “Monostable” shifter designed in Germany by ZF and installed into Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles. The shifter does not operate like a standard automatic shift and can appear to be in park when it is actually in neutral. This, return to center positon action, allows cars that were assumed to be safely parked, to roll away out of control. One such shifter was responsible for the death of Star Trek actor Anton Velchin when his Jeep Cherokee rolled forward, pinning him against a driveway gate. Velchin’s family has filed a wrongful death suit against Fiat Chrysler Jeep in that case. His attorney claims that the recall warning was “too little, too late.”
Factors Contributing to Non-Completion of Recall Repairs
J.D Power identified several other factors that contributed low recall completion rates by analyzing data, both proprietary and from the National Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The analysis showed that owners of newer vehicles are more connected to the dealer. In general, the older a vehicle becomes, the harder it is for the automaker to track it down, due changes in ownership. Vehicles made between 2013 and 2017 have a recall repair completion rate of 73 percent compared to 44 percent for vehicles made between 2003 and 2007.
Another factor affecting recall repair completion rates is the type of vehicle. SUV’s have an average of 83 percent completion where mid-premium sports cars stand at only 32 percent and large SUVs at 33 percent.
When a recall is large, as in the case of the Takata recall, the delays to make repairs grow much longer. A safety recall of over 1 million vehicles will have a completions rate of less than 50 percent. The percentage rises to 67 percent when a recall is under 10,000 vehicles.
Parts shortages, or delayed delivery of parts to the dealers, in large recalls, slows the completion rate greatly. Some Nissan owners, for example, have had waiting periods of two months of more where their cars sat at the dealer waiting for parts. During that time, they are provided with a free rental or a courtesy vehicle at the expense of the automobile maker.
Stricter federal regulations have initiated from the notoriety of recent recalls have encouraged dealers to voluntarily recall more vehicles. Some automakers are rewarding vehicle owners with incentives like gift cards or other perks for returning their vehicles for certain repairs.
If You Believe You Were Injured Due to an Unsafe Motor Vehicle Part
Despite recall letters being sent to the owners of vehicles with defective parts, automakers and parts manufacturers are not immune to lawsuits stemming from injuries and deaths caused by the defective parts. In the Anton Velchin case two letters were mailed to him from the automaker regarding the recall. One was sent prior to his death and the other was received a week afterwards. As his lawyer stated, “too little, too late.
If you were injured due to the presence of a defective part in yours, or another’s, motor vehicle, contact a product liability attorney immediately. Do not try to determine fault on your own. Your attorney will be familiar with product recalls. You may have been driving a recalled vehicle and not have known. The chances are very good that you were and could be entitled to compensation for your injuries and property damage.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA has successfully represented many drivers, passengers and pedestrians that were harmed due to the presence of defective steering, drive train, braking and safety systems. Call Dolman Law if you or a loved one were injured or a loved one was lost, for a free consultation at 727-451-6900.
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