Millions of Defective Car and/or Car Parts are being Recalled Every Year

The Highway Safety Act of 1970, which established the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), also gave the NHTSA the authority to issue vehicle safety standards and to require manufacturers to recall vehicles that have safety-related defects or do not meet Federal safety standards. This authority has, thus far, resulted to the recall of 42 million child safety seats, 46 million tires, 66 million pieces of motor vehicle equipment, and more than 390 million defective cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, mopeds and recreational vehicles.

Since the 1970s, the yearly total of fatal motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. has been very significantly reduced – from more than 50,000 to a little more than 30,000. This number, however, is still high, considering the fact that more than 90% of fatal traffic accidents, based on studies by the NHTSA, is due to driver error. The remaining percentage is blamed on faults committed either by those assigned to construct and maintain roads, highways and bridges, or manufacturers of vehicles.

Defective vehicles, as well as defective vehicle parts, threaten the safety of everyone on the road. Though millions of recalls continue to be made every year, majority of these involve only minor issues and a simple repair-and-replace maneuver can solve the issue. However, there have been recalls due to vehicles or vehicle parts which have caused serious injuries and deaths. A number of these recalls include the following:

Suspension bolt coming loose and disabling the steering column. About 5.8 million General Motors cars owners were affected by this defect in 1981.

Fuel lines that cracked and spilled gasoline onto the engine, setting the vehicle on fire. About 11,500 Ford Escapes needed to be recalled by Ford Motor Company.

Car ignition starting up by itself. This ignition device was equipped into 7.9 million Ford vehicles manufactured between 1988 and 1993. There were instances when the car would start even during the middle of the night while the owner is asleep.

Cruise Control Switches. This cruise control, can short-out and catch fire anytime even if you are not using your vehicle. About 14.9 million Ford cars and trucks manufactured between 1991 and 2004 were affected by this defect.

Blowing tires from Firestone. This issue involved faulty tires with tread that separated from the steel belts. This tire defect was linked to 200 deaths which, eventually, resulted to 6.5 million of these faulty tires getting recalled.

Unintended acceleration. This made cars speed up on their own. Audi 5000 in the 1980s and Toyota in 2010 affected by this defect. Nine million Toyota cars were recalled in 2010; also, the defect was linked to 31 deaths).

Power steering defect and a faulty ignition-switch. The defect was linked to 13 deaths. It resulted to the recall of 2.6 million General Motors vehicles in 2014.

Exploding air bags. In the U.S., this defective air bag caused 10 deaths and more than 100 injuries. It was used by 14 different automakers and installed in more than million vehicles worldwide (more than 30 million in the U.S.). This has been the biggest recall in the history of the auto industry.

In its website, the law firm Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® points out the responsibility of automobile manufacturers in ensuring that their vehicles are safe for motorists. However, despite recent advances in automotive technology, a number of motor vehicle components are still prone to defects and malfunctions that can have devastating consequences for accident victims. Vehicle manufacturers may be held liable when automotive defects lead to car accidents. Injured drivers, passengers and other harmed road users may also be able to take legal action and seek compensation for their pains, sufferings and losses.