When an automaker or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recalls an automobile for a safety defect, it needs to be taken seriously by anyone in possession of the recalled vehicle. However, the actual trend of recall compliance tells a much different story.
According to the NHTSA, a recall that targets an older vehicle – such as several years old or more – can only expect about 44% recall compliance, at most. Recalls for new vehicles and those less than a few years old may see compliance up to 83%. Overall, a lack of compliance has left more than 50 million automobiles on America’s roads that should have been brought back to dealerships and manufacturers due to a safety recall. To put things into perspective, there’s roughly 200 million cars in use in the country.
Why is Recall Compliance So Low?
Right in the name, a safety recall means taking care of a problem that jeopardizes the safety of the vehicle’s driver or passengers, or other drivers on the road. If safety is supposed to be number one priority for every driver, why is safety recall compliance consistently low from coast-to-coast?
The National Safety Council (NSC) has begun its “Check to Protect” campaign to bring awareness to the issue of low recall compliance. In addition to getting more Americans to think about safety recalls, the campaign asked survey participants why they would or have ignored a safety recall.
The top three reasons people ignore or do not comply with an automobile recall are:
- The car owner does not think he or she has the time to comply with the recall.
- The car owner sees the safety issue as not serious enough to warrant their compliance in the recall.
- The dealership did not have the right parts to complete the recall when the car owner first check in, and there was no immediate incentive to try again later.
The second reason is particularly concerning for safety advocacy groups, as it underlines a dangerous mindset of complacency. Many drivers seem to think “It will not happen to me because it has not happened yet.” Or, “My car has made it this far, nothing bad will happen now.” Such conclusions are clearly based only on speculation and hopefulness, not real data.
How to Check for Recalls & Protect Your Family
It is an incorrect assumption to think that all people who do not comply with an automobile safety recall do so due to the active decision to ignore it. Instead, many, if not most, people simply never realize that their car has been recalled due to a hazardous defect. The NHTSA and NSC encourage every to regularly check for recalls – perhaps once every three to six months – to ensure that no issue goes undetected for too long.
Check if your car is recalled by simply visiting either of these websites:
On either website, a search bar will allow you to type in your automobile’s VIN (vehicle identification number). You should be able to find the VIN on the driver’s side of your car: etched onto the inside of the door, printed into the dash and visible from outside, or at both locations. You can also read more details about where to find VINs at this NHTSA website: https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls.
At Morici, Figlioli & Associates, our Chicago personal injury attorneys want all of our clients and community members to be as safe as possible. Please take a few minutes to check if your vehicle has any outstanding recalls. If you or someone you love has already been injured by a vehicle defect, you may be able to file a product liability claim against the auto manufacturer for fair compensation and damages recovery. To learn how we can help you manage a claim and take on negligent automakers, contact our firm today and schedule a free case evaluation.