Some 22 million vehicles were recalled in the United States last year, many for serious safety problems that could increase the risk of injury or death. In addition to the vehicles, more than 36,000 child restraint systems were recalled, along with 1.4 million tires.
The high number of recalls is an important reminder to drivers to ensure that they keep up-to-date on news announcements about vehicle defects. When a defect causes injury, Chicago car accident lawyers at Coplan & Crane can help victims to take legal action against those responsible. While you can recover compensation for accident losses, it is far better to learn of the recall and take care of the problem before an accident happens.
Millions of Dangerous Vehicles on U.S. Roads
The New York Times reported a total of 632 different recalls last year, which is the highest number of vehicle recalls since 2004. The prior year, in 2012, there were 581 actions affecting 16.4 million vehicles. In 2004, 30.8 million cars had to be recalled.
The federal government has been requiring carmakers to issue recalls for safety problems since 1966, and there have been more than 530.8 million vehicles recalled over the years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) can investigate complaints or problems with cars based on customer complaints, and the NHTSA may prompt a recall if safety issues are identified. In 2013, around seven million of the 22 million vehicles recalled were taken off the roads after an NHTSA investigation. The remaining recalls happened because automakers reported that a problem had been identified.
Toyota was the manufacturer with the most cars recalled, and it was forced to take 1.6 million cars off the roads as a result of air bags that could deploy when the vehicle had not been in a crash. The deploying airbags were prompted by spider webs that blocked drainage holes and by electronic interference in the vehicles. Suspension problems were the cause of another 780,000 Toyota vehicles, and this was the second recall for those cars. They'd already been recalled in 2012 for the same issue, but the first repairs were found to be lacking in many cases.
Chrysler, the manufacturer with the second highest number of cars recalled, had 36 different actions in 2013 and recalled almost 4.7 million vehicles. Cars the manufacturer removed from the roads included Jeep Grand Cherokees produced from 1993 to 1998 and Jeep Liberties from 2002 to 2007. These vehicles were recalled because the NHTSA believed there was a danger that rear-impact collisions could result in a fire.
These recalls generally occurred before serious injuries and accidents begin occurring in the United States, but this is not always the case. While it is good news that manufacturers are coming forward and taking action to remove dangerous cars from the road, the NHTSA and carmakers should both do more to prevent problematic vehicles from being sold in the first place. More pre-market testing and tougher safety standards could perhaps reduce the number of cars that need to be recalled. With the first increase in recalled vehicles since 2004, it is clear that more should be done to protect consumers.
Chicago personal injury lawyers can help after an accident. Call Coplan & Crane at 800-394-6002 or visit www.coplancrane.com to schedule your free consultation.