According to new data released by a popular car shopping site it seems that only a little over 55 percent of all car owners take the necessary steps to take care of potential problems that may affect their cars after being notified of a recall by the car manufacturer. In fact, figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate that at least 30 percent of all car owners that receive recall notifications in the mail basically ignore them.
These statistics become especially troubling when you consider that the U.S. is currently experiencing one of the most widespread and potentially dangerous car recalls in automotive history. The Takata Corporation which supplies airbags for many of the world’s leading car manufacturers has issued multiple recalls recently. The recalls were issued due to the fact that their airbags deploy with such force that metal shards and shrapnel are propelled outwards at high velocity directly at the passengers face and torso potentially maiming or even killing the passenger on impact. To date the malfunctioning airbags have claimed the lives of six people and have been responsible for more than 100 serious injuries.
Part of the problem has been attributed to car manufacturers who couch the recalls that they send out in language that tones down the potential imminent danger that the recall poses if ignored. Companies generally don’t want to admit to putting their customers lives in potential danger so they will go to great lengths to ensure that any correspondence that they send out sound as non-threatening and innocuous as possible.
By-product liability law, car manufacturers are required to inform only those car owners that they have on record of any recalls that are issued. This poses a problem for car owners who buy their cars used directly from the previous owner. It is important for second-hand car owners to check to see if a recall affects them. And, it is important to take recall notices seriously. Not getting a potential car defect fixed or repaired can result in serious injuries and even death.
Source: Boston Globe Media, “Many drivers don’t repair their recalled cars,” Justine Hofherr, June 2, 2015