Automakers Struggling To Repair Recalled US Cars
It's no big secret that auto recalls have been issued with alarming regularity over the last couple of years. From the Takata airbag recall to the Toyota acceleration issues, recalls happen almost weekly - or at least it can seem that way.
However, despite the large number of recalls that occur throughout the year, automakers have reported that they are having tremendous difficulty just getting recalled vehicles into their shops for repairs. This means that there are likely far more autos out there on US roads that carry significant risks to their owners and to other motorists around them - and there isn't any change in sight just yet.
The Big Challenge
So what's the problem, exactly? According to Automotive News, there are several challenges. The two main ones are:
• Difficulty contacting auto owners to notify them that their vehicle has been recalled
• Difficulty convincing owners to bring in their vehicles to be repaired
The process is disjointed, and different automakers seek out customers in different ways. From email to phone calls to letters sent using various databases, it's not always easy for an auto company to even identify the driver of a specific vehicle. And making things harder is the very large used vehicle market in the US - a driver in the company's initial database may not still be the owner of a vehicle that they purchased even a few months ago.
Some companies stand out. Honda, for example, was noted as an auto brand that takes the process seriously and that uses unique approaches to overcome the different barriers standing in the way of recalls. They use multiple avenues for locating owners and sending out their recall notifications, thus helping the public stay safer.
The government itself does do its part to make sure that auto manufactures notify auto owners in as timely a manner as possible, and it also ensures that the repairs the auto maker intends to perform will indeed repair the problem. But, the NHTSA doesn't directly track or manage recall data on successful recalls.
It's surprising, but this is a very American problem. In Germany, for example, 100% of recalled vehicles are reported to be repaired. In the UK, that number is 92% while in Japan the total is around 80%. But here in the US, only around 70% of recalled vehicles are actually repaired. The rest are still on the roads, ticking timebombs that could bring serious dangers with them.
What Does This Mean To Motorists?
The low percentage of repaired vehicles can mean that American roads aren't quite as safe as they should be. Those who are involved in an accident with a vehicle that has been recalled but not repaired may find that they have legal options they can take.
For instance, if you were never aware of a recall issue on your vehicle, you may be able to seek compensation if the part that failed was recalled and led to your accident. However, on the opposite side of this, those that are injured due to another motorist's decision to ignore a recall may be able to sue that other driver for damages - their willful recklessness led to the injuries, in other words.
The bottom line is that those who are contacted regarding a recall on their vehicle should set up an appointment and get the issue repaired as soon as possible. Failure to do so could put you and those around you in danger. While auto companies continue to figure out a better way to contact drivers about recalls, those who are contacted have a responsibility as well.