If you were to review the most recent list of items recalled by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), you would see dozens of consumer items, from vitamins to dog food, pulled from shelves in 2019 alone.
Recalls are nothing new, and for most household items, it simply means discarding the recalled item or bringing it back to the store for a refund.
With vehicle recalls, however, the process of remedying the problem is a much more detailed, drawn-out procedure that can cause a lot of inconvenience. For some, just ignoring the recall is the easiest thing to do, but that behavior has safety officials concerned as more and more motorists are failing to take the steps needed to keep themselves and others safe.
Vehicle Recalls Affect Millions of Drivers Each Year
A few months ago, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) met to discuss ways to encourage vehicle owners to comply with recall notices. Research had shown that owners of older vehicles are less likely to respond to a notice. As NHTSA noted when highlighting recall completion rates:
- Owners of vehicles that are less than three years old comply with a recall notice 80 percent of the time
- Owners whose vehicles are 1 to 5 years comply 76 percent of the time
- However, owners whose vehicles are 6 to 10 years old, comply with a recall notice only 56 percent of the time
According to NHTSA, more than 720 vehicle recalls affected more than 29 million vehicles in 2018, down a bit from 2017, when 900 recalls were issued impacting 42 million vehicles. You may be wondering why there are so many recalls and who’s being affected? According to a leading consumer publication, Fiat Chrysler had one of the largest recalls last year, which included 66 different models with issues with cruise control. Ford also had a large recall with its F-150 pickups due to a front seatbelt issue that could cause a fire if the truck is involved in a car accident. In addition to that problem, some of the trucks also had a problem with rolling over, even when parked. This recall sounded many alarms because new-car registrations show that Ford
S F-150 is the top seller in 22 of the 50 states.
Here in Colorado, Subaru is the most popular automaker, and though its vehicles are highly rated for safety, last year Subaru had two recalls, both related to airbags. So recalls affect car, truck, and SUV owners alike who live all over this country. That’s why there is growing concern about vehicle owners ignoring notices and potentially putting themselves and others in danger.
Takata Airbag Replacement Continues
By now, you’ve probably read about the enormous undertaking of recalling vehicles produced by nearly 20 different automakers due to a deadly issue involving the Takata airbag. Federal officials have noted that the airbag recall is the largest and most complex recall in U.S. history. Years after the initial safety issue came to light, automakers are still dealing with the recall, though federal authorities say the average repair rate for this particular issue increased 30 percent last year.
If you have received a recall notice, do not ignore it. If you aren’t sure about recalls on your vehicle, you can check all notices by going to Safecare.gov and using your vehicle identification number (VIN), any recall about your vehicle will be highlighted. It’s all about safety; safety for you and your passengers as well as others on the road.