Efforts to pinpoint the cause of car accident deaths as well as traffic-related injuries have prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to take a firm stance when it comes to U.S. auto safety recalls. In fact, automakers issued 53.2 million vehicle recalls – more than ever – in 2016.
Faulty manufacturing that places defective vehicles on the highways puts those on the road in dangerous situations. If you or a loved one has suffered because of either what should have been a vehicle recall or was one issued too late, then contact The Krist Law Firm, P.C. at (281) 283-8500. A Houston automotive defects lawyers who knows how to get the compensation you deserve because of automobile manufacturers’ negligence may be able to help.
What Requires a Recall?
Either NHTSA or an automobile manufacturer will issue a vehicle recall when it is determined a vehicle unreasonably jeopardizes the safety and well-being of individuals who travel in it. Once they recognize the problem, most manufacturers voluntarily announce the recall without an NHTSA order to do so. They are required to make the wrong right by either repairing or replacing the problematic part. They may also refund an auto owner for a fix s/he needed, and, while not that common, can buy the vehicle back from the owner.
NHTSA primarily plays a role in vehicle recalls when manufacturers fail to both meet safety standards and proactively correct the problem. The agency reviews owner complaints as well as information that documents alleged defects, which informs its next steps. If its analysis justifies an investigation, then it closes that investigation only after it either notifies a manufacturer of its recall recommendations or does not identify a safety-threatening issue.
Why 2016 Stands Out for Vehicle Recalls
The number of vehicle recalls in 2016 far outpaced what had been a record high in 2015. Jumping 7 percent from 51.1 million to 53.2 million recalls in just 12 months, the surge was due in large part to Takata Corporation’s faulty airbag inflators. As NBC News reported, the airbags inflated with too much force, which caused a metal canister to rupture and to project shrapnel in the vehicle. This was because Takata relied on ammonium nitrate to inflate the bags during a crash despite the fact that chemical can burn more rapidly than desired when exposed to high heat and humidity for a prolonged period. This is what caused the canister to rupture.
At least 16 people around the globe have died due to Takata’s airbags, which sparked the recall of more than 42 million U.S. vehicles with about 70 million of these inflators. NHTSA warned owners of 313,000 older Hondas and Acuras to get their Takata airbags repaired as soon as possible even though Honda admittedly found it difficult to reach all of them.
The increasing attention paid to vehicle recalls as well as the nearly 930 recall campaigns under the Obama administration can actually be tied to NHTSA. The agency suffered incredibly negative press due to its slow reaction to a deadly ignition switch in General Motors vehicles that caused their engine to turn off, which meant the airbags failed to inflate. This eventually led the motor company to recall about 800,000 vehicles and linked it to 124 deaths. Sadly, better oversight by NHTSA could have saved lives given the fact that General Motors had known of the defect for at least 10 years.
Contact Our Houston Car Accident Lawyers Today
Automobile manufacturers’ negligence can result in unsafe vehicles that, despite vehicle recalls, may continue to go unaddressed when owners either do not know about the danger they face or simply ignore it. Issuing vehicle recalls and launching campaigns to spread the word may do minimal good when the response is little to none.
The Krist Law Firm, P.C. knows neither you nor the people you care about should suffer because of a defective vehicle you purchased. Call us at (281) 283-8500 to schedule a free consultation if this has happened to you.