Vacation season is here and a record number of drivers will take to the road as they seize the advantage of low gas prices. Among these cars are millions that are potentially injurious due to recall repairs that have never been completed.
From 2013 to 2015, a record number of recalls have left a great number of recalled vehicles still operating on U.S roads and highways, according to J.D. Powers, the global marketing firm.
During the recall period, the number of vehicles recalled totaled over 109 million. Forty percent of that number are still on the road without the necessary repairs being completed, resulting in 45 million potentially dangerous cars, trucks and SUV’s traveling our roads and highways.
Parts standardization has resulted in the same parts being installed into as many as a dozen different manufacturers vehicles. This is made evident from the Takata airbag system. When the discovery of the potentially fatal, exploding Takata inflator mechanisms was made, the parts were installed in over 100 million vehicles worldwide.
Also announced recently was the recall of the “Monostable” shifter designed in Germany by ZF and installed into Jeep, Chrysler and Dodge vehicles. The shifter maintains a return-to-center action, which can make the transmission appear to be in park when it is actually in neutral. One of these shifters was responsible for the untimely death of actor Anton Yelchin when his Jeep Cherokee rolled forward, pinning him against a driveway gate. The Yelchin family has filed a wrongful death suit against Fiat Chrysler Jeep. His attorney describes the recall warning as “too little, too late.” Other recalls have included defective tires, brakes and throttle systems.
Why Are Recall Repairs Not Completed?
Several factors have been attributed to low recall completion rates by J.D. Powers from analyzing both proprietary data as well as data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).
It was determined from the study that owners of newer vehicles are more connected to the dealer. As a vehicle becomes older it becomes harder for the vehicle manufacturer to track it down, mostly due to changes in ownership. The recall completion rate for vehicles manufactured between 2013 and 2017 have a recall repair completion rate of 73 percent compared to 44 percent for vehicles made between 2003 and 2007.
The type of vehicle requiring repairs also affects the repair completion rates. Mid-premium sports cars and large SUV’s show a completion rate of only 33 percent where mid-size SUV’s have an average rate of 83 percent.
As in the case of the Takata recall, large recalls create delays in repairs being completed. A recall of fewer than 10,000 vehicles will have a recall repair completion rate of 67 percent. With a safety recall of over 1 million vehicles, the rate drops significantly, to less than 50 percent.
In large recalls the completion rate is slowed by parts shortages and/or delayed delivery of parts to the dealers. For example, some Nissan owners had to wait two months as their vehicles sat at the dealers. During that time they were provided with a free rental or courtesy vehicle at the expense of Nissan.
The large scope of recent recalls has spurred stricter federal regulations encouraging dealers to voluntarily recall more vehicles. Some dealers offer incentives, such as gift cards or other perks, to vehicle owners to return their cars for necessary repairs.
Injured Due to an Unsafe Motor Vehicle Part?
Automakers, dealers and parts manufacturers are not immune to lawsuits brought on by injuries and deaths caused by the defective parts, even if a recall was issued. In the case of Anton Yelchin, 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 afterward.
If a defective part in your vehicle, or another’s, caused you harm, or if you lost someone, seek the help of an experienced product liability attorney as soon as possible. It is his or her job to determine fault, not yours. Your attorney will be thoroughly familiar with product recalls. You may have been unknowingly operating a recalled vehicle and could be entitled to compensation for you medical bills, pain and suffering, lost income and the damage to your car.
Vititoe Law Group has been representing drivers, passengers and pedestrians that were harmed due to defective steering, drive train, braking, safety systems and other equipment. For a free, no obligation, consultation call Vititoe Law Group at 818-851-1886. No recovery – no fee.