Hundreds of recalls alerting consumers to millions of potentially defective vehicles and vehicle products were announced over the last year by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association.
While it's good news that these products are no longer on the market, our Montgomery personal injury lawyers find it appalling that so many companies would put the public in harm's way. Manufacturers, even if they aren't aware of the risk they have posed, have a responsibility and an obligation to fully vet their products before making them available for sale. Vehicles are among the largest investments a family makes, and can take years to pay off. At a minimum, they should be free from defects that could result in serious or fatal injuries.
In addition to the vehicles themselves, the 650 recalls announced last year by those in the auto industry included some 60,000 items of vehicle equipment, which would include things like faulty child safety seats and unsafe tires. In all, the recalls affected nearly 18 million vehicles and vehicle-related products.
To put the scope of this into perspective, assuming no consumer was hit by two vehicle recalls in the same year, that would affect roughly 9.3 percent of licensed drivers, or roughly one out of every 10 you pass on the road.
Maybe it was you?
By far, the NHTSA rates the worst offenders as:
- Toyota (12 recalls affecting more than 5.3 million vehicles);
- Honda (16 recalls affecting more than 3.3 million vehicles);
- General Motors (17 recalls affecting more than 1.4 million vehicles);
- Fort Motor Company (24 recalls affecting nearly 1.4 million vehicles)
- Chrysler Group (13 recalls affecting more than 1.3 million vehicles).
Other companies with a high number of recalls include BMW (15), Nissan (13), Daimler Trucks (21), Navistar (20), Prevost Cars (16), Blue Bird Body Company (12) and Ducati (10). Most other companies had under 10 recalls.
For Toyota, its recalls included problems with Prius models' steering intermediate extension shafts, which could suffer damage if a sharp turn was made at a slow speed. There was also an issue with the electric motor pumps that could result in a system failure during operation. In another model, there was also a power window problem that posed a fire risk.
Hondas recalls included a roll-away problem after drivers had removed the keys from the ignition. We know of at least two people who were injured as a result of this problem, including one person who suffered a broken leg after being run over by his van even though he had removed the key from the ignition.
General Motors' recalls included problems with fuel leaks - particularly in hot-weather states.
Ford - which had the distinction of the most recalls for 2012 - had to recall some 90,000 vehicles in one instance due to overheating that could spark a fire in two of its best-selling models. At least 13 vehicle fires were reported, though no one was hurt. Others involved a swatch of carpet that could block the gas pedal in its Escape models and others involved coolant leaks from the freeze plugs.
Finally, Chrysler's recalls involved the removal of more than 900,000 Jeeps with airbags that might deploy unexpectedly or without warning while the vehicle was being operated.
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