In 2014, more automobiles were subject to recalls than any other year on record, as 63.9 million vehicles were subject to 803 separate auto recalls. The previous record for recalls in a year occurred in 2004 when 30.8 million vehicles were recalled.
The United States Department of Transportation estimates that there are roughly 253 million registered vehicles in the U.S. This estimate means that roughly one in four vehicles was subject to an auto recall in 2014, which is a staggering number.
To put this shocking number of automobile recalls into further perspective, as 803 separate auto recall announcements were made, this averages out to more than 2 recall announcements every single day.
Two of the largest single recall-announcements in the history of auto recalls occurred in 2014; the first was when General Motors recalled nearly six million cars for ignition switch problems and the second was when Honda recalled more than five million cars for issues with airbags.
57 deaths are linked to the GM ignition switch problem, but claims are still being evaluated. The Honda airbag problem has been linked to five deaths.
An official from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the administration which oversees recalls, estimates that even more vehicles will be recalled in 2015.
One of the most well-known automobile recalls occurred in 2009-10, when Toyota recalled millions of vehicles related to ignition switch acceleration problems. Toyota reached a settlement with the Justice Department for a total of $1.2 billion for misleading consumers and the government about the acceleration problems.
So what should you do if your car is subject to a recall? Or how does a person learn that their car has been recalled? The following is a number of tips on how to deal with an auto recall.
- Duty to Inform: It is the duty of the automobile company to inform the owner of the recall. This usually occurs in the form of a letter or an email, instructing the owner to take the car to a dealer to be serviced. Once an automaker initiates a recall, it has 60 days to notify owners of the auto recall.
- Recall Database: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration keeps an online database of all automobile recalls at safercar.gov. Individual owners can take check their specific models of cars or they can search under the VIN to learn if their vehicle has not been repaired for any recall during the last 15 years.
- Duty to Fix: Under federal law it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to fix the recall without any cost to the owner of the car. The automaker can treat the recall in one of three ways – repair, replace or refund – all of which should come at no cost to the owner. That means you should never pay for any service done during a recall. This duty to fix, only extends to cars which are no more than 10 years old on the date of the recall. This means that if a recall is found in 2012, then a vehicle purchased new in 2001 would fall outside of the 10 year rule. Cars outside of this 10 year window may still be affected by recalls, but the owner may be responsible for the costs associated with performing the service.
- Contact an Attorney: If you have been injured in a car accident or if your car has been damaged due to any automobile malfunction, you should always seek legal advice from a lawyer. There may be remedies available beyond the automaker simply servicing the recall and contacting an attorney is a key way to investigate these remedies.
The San Diego car accident attorneys at Martinez & Schill LLP are experienced in handling car accident cases. If you or a loved one has been injured in a Riverside or San Diego car accident, contact us today for a free consultation. We do not get paid unless we obtain compensation on your behalf. San Diego 619-512-5995 or Riverside 951-200-4630.