The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released a report indicating that millions of defective devices were yanked by vehicle and car product manufacturers as a result of some 650 recalls issued over the last year.
Our South Carolina injury attorneys know that many of these products were directly tied to vehicle and passenger safety. Given the fact that South Carolina traffic officials have, for the second straight year, indicated a spike in the number of deaths, the announcement from the NHTSA begs the question: How many of these incidents could have been prevented or minimized had manufacturers been more responsible?
We may never know for sure. But here’s what we can tell you: Those 650 recalls in 2012 affected nearly 18 million vehicles nationwide. The items deemed unfit for use included child car seats, tires and other vehicle equipment.
The NHTSA’s defect investigation and compliance teams were reportedly instrumental in pushing for roughly half of those recalls, meaning manufacturers weren’t eager to move on these matters independently. Over the last three years, the NHTSA has successfully pushed for the removal of some 22 million vehicle products from the market.
The agency of course wants a big pat on the back for this, but the fact is, many of these initiatives are spurred by numerous consumer complaints. Last year, there were reportedly nearly 42,000 consumer complaints directly related to safety defects that had potential to result in loss of life or serious injury.
That’s actually down a bit from the number of complaints in the two years prior. In 2011, there were about 49,000 complaints and about 66,000 complaints logged in the previous year. Still, the administrator of the NHTSA referred to consumers as the “lifeblood” of the recall process.
While we can’t detail here every vehicle-related recall over the last 12 months, we do want to briefly highlight some of those that affected a large number of people.
Chrysler – Recalled nearly 920,000 Jeep SUVs made between 2002 and 2004, due to airbags that were deploying inadvertently or may not deploy when needed.
General Motors has had numerous recalls over the last 12 months, including 40,000 Chevy, Saturn and Pontiac models for fuel pump leaks. (Earlier this month, the company recalled some 55,000 pickups, vans and SUVs due to increased risks of deadly rollovers.)
Honda recalled some 3.4 million vehicles last year in numerous recalls, due to issues with fuel and suspension systems, windshield visibility, faulty seat belts and transmissions. (Just a few days ago, the company recalled approximately 750,000 Odysseys and Pilots for airbag defects).
Toyota, which produces some of the best-selling cars in the U.S., also has the unfortunate title of having the most recalls in 2012, with 5.3 million vehicles recalled. The company just last month settled the first in a group of hundreds of pending wrongful death and injury lawsuits related to the sudden and unintended acceleration by numerous Toyota vehicles. Prior to that, the company agreed to a $1 billion settlement from owners claiming economic losses related to the defect.
If you have been injured, contact the Lee Law Offices today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 800-887-1965.
NHTSA Announces More Than 17.8 Million Products Recalled in 2012, Jan. 17, 2013, Press Release, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
More Blog Entries:
Disturbing Statistics Show South Carolina Highway Deaths Rose in 2012, Jan. 2, 2013, South Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog