Over the past 20 years, the number of automotive recalls in the United States has hovered in between 10.2 million and 30.8 million; however, for the third year in a row, the U.S. has set a record number of auto recalls, with this year’s 53.2 million beating out 2015’s 51.1. As stated by the U.S. Department of Transportation, during 2016, the number of automotive recalls has sky-rocketed to a record-breaking 53.2 million vehicles after a recent expansion of the already existent callback of the airbag inflators produced by the Takata Corporation –inflators that have a tendency to rupture, being liked to at least 16 deaths worldwide. This unfortunate defect is estimated to affect around 42 million American vehicles with roughly 70 million inflators between them. Automotive experts estimated that the Takata Corporation’s airbag inflator affects 1 in 4 cars on American roads, although they have reduced that number this year to 1 in 9.
While the Obama administration was in effect, automakers had issued 927 campaigns for recall, which is a seven percent increase from 2015. The reason for the Obama administration’s increase in automotive standards is due to a jump in traffic and automotive-related deaths by eight percent in 2015 and then rose again in 2016. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration failed to detect an ignition switch defect in General Motors Co. vehicles in 2014. After said switch was linked to 124 deaths, the NHTSA issued numerous fines to all those companies which were deemed to have failed to meet safety regulations. Among those fined were, of course, General Motors and Takata, as well as Honda Motor Co., Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, and Graco Children’s Products –a manufacturer of car seats and booster seats.
Hopefully, car manufacturers will see an improvement in recall rates in 2017, however, with notices issued already for Mercedes-Benz, Buick, BMW 4 series, Subaru Impreza, and the Volkswagen Jetta, the year is not off to a great start. It is unclear exactly who is to blame for the increase in recalled vehicular technology –whether it is tighter regulation enforced by the government or if it is due to gross oversight on the part of the manufacturer. Regardless of where we place blame, it remains abundantly clear that changes need to be made if we wish to see a reduction in the number of recalled vehicles. If you are unaware of whether or not your vehicle has been recalled, plug you car’s vehicle identification number into the government’s online recall search tool and it should tell you whether or not your car has any unresolved recalls. You can also contact your vehicle manufacturer, who should have a record of any recent recalls on their product.