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Unrepaired Recalled Vehicles Present Additional Driving Dangers

Posted By Regan Zambri Long, PLLC || 23-May-2017

A recent investigation by U.K. publication Auto Express brings some disturbing news. According to their report, less than half of vehicles in the U.K. under recall since 2012 have been brought in for repairs—meaning these vehicles are still on the roads, presenting possible driving dangers for both their owners and others.

A similar statistic holds true for recalled vehicles here in the U.S. As Forbes reports, as many as 45 million vehicles recalled between 2013 and 2015 had not been brought in for repairs by 2016, according to data by J.D. Power.

Of course, not every recall presents a safety issue; some recalls only affect vehicle performance from an efficiency standpoint, for example. However, Auto Express reveals that at least 2.2 million outstanding recalls in the U.K. involve safety concerns such as airbag deployment, fire and steering risks. Since many current recalls here in the U.S. involve the faulty Takata airbags, we can safely assume the number of unsafe vehicles on American roads follows a similar ratio.

Why Recalled Vehicles Don’t Get Repaired

The communication chain between manufacturers and vehicle owners can break down at many points. Here are some common reasons why vehicles under recall don’t make it to back to the service department:

  • Owners are not aware of the recall. Manufacturers are required to notify original owners of any recalls by mail, for example, but they don’t often have information on 2nd and 3rd owners as the vehicle gets sold.
  • Owners underestimate the danger. If the language of the recall is ambiguous, or if the vehicle is older and has not malfunctioned, the owner may believe that there is no safety issue or that his/her car is in the clear.
  • Owners are too “busy” to respond. Recalls can be difficult in single-car households, for example, where the owner has a crowded work schedule.

Protecting Yourself

You obviously have no control over whether someone else is driving a recalled vehicle with a safety issue; in those cases, defensive driving techniques offer your best protection. However, you can do your part to keep yourself and others safe by taking the following steps:

  • Check your vehicle’s VIN number for possible recalls. The NHTSA website has a convenient VIN search feature. So if you’ve missed a manufacturer recall for any reason, you’ll be in the know.
  • Register for NHTSA alerts, either by email or via the SaferCar app. You’ll be notified any time a recall is issued for your vehicle.
  • If your car is under recall, don’t ignore it. Recall repairs are free and only cost time—and you’ll make yourself, your vehicle and the roads a lot safer in the process.

If you have been an accident victim on the roads, our Washington D.C. personal injury attorneys can help. Call our office for more information.

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