In a prior post, we highlighted the record number of vehicles that were recalled in the United States last year. According to a recent New York Times report, 803 recalls were initiated last year that covered 64 million vehicles. Indeed, a large number of recalls were due to federal regulators calling for manufacturers to take action. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had 123 investigations that led to recalls. The others were due to automakers calling for cars to be brought back on their own initiatives.
The notion that automakers led a majority of recall efforts should be comforting. After all, they have a legal obligation to report defects that consumers would not know about on their own and to take reasonable steps to correct them. However, the federal government was recently under fire because of the delays in investigating consumer complaints that could have led to recalls. The NHTSA recalled the fewest number of vehicles since 2010, and there were rumblings that the full extent of its legal powers were not exercised.
Aside from the epic recalls due to General Motors’ ignition switch problem and Takata Corporation’s airbag issue, arguably the most problematic (and least discussed) recall had to do with children’s car seats. More than six million car seats manufactured by Graco Corporation were recalled, along with 1.6 million seats by EvenFlo. Both manufacturers had the same problem; bulky buckles that could trap a child inside their seat in the event of an emergency.
In essence, with the number of recalls expected to increase this year, it is not just automakers who must be vigilant in reporting defects.
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