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Why Are There So Many Car Safety Recalls?

How common are vehicle recalls?

Last year, more than 16.2 million vehicles were recalled. Most of these were vehicle safety recalls voluntarily initiated by the automaker because of a safety defect that could either cause a Milwaukee auto accident or increase the risk of injury in a Wisconsin car crash.

What is a safety-related defect?

According to the federal Code for Motor Vehicle Safety (Title 49, Chapter 301), motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment must perform in a way that “protects the public against unreasonable risk of accidents occurring because of the design, construction, or performance of a motor vehicle, and against unreasonable risk of death or injury in an accident, and includes nonoperational safety of a motor vehicle.”

Safety defects may include:

  • Performance defects
  • Construction defects
  • Component defects
  • Material defects

Here are some recent examples of safety defects:

  • Steering components that malfunction causing a loss of vehicle control. An example is the October 2012 recall of more than 570,000 Honda Accords with a potential power steering fluid leak.
  • Problems with fuel system components. In October 2012, GM recalled 41,000 cars and crossover vehicles because a fuel pump component could crack and leak at high temperatures.
  • Accelerator control problems. Between 2009 and 2011, Toyota recalled more than 5 million vehicles because of problems that could cause sudden acceleration. Toyota recently settled a sudden acceleration injury lawsuit for more than one billion dollars.
  • Wheels that crack or break. In 2007, Ford recalled more than 100,000 police vehicles because the wheels could fall apart at high speeds.
  • Windshield wiper failure. Ford recalled more than 140,000 model year 2012 Focus vehicles because missing seals in the windshield washer motor wirings could result in passenger side windshield wiper motor failure.
  • Wiring problems. In October 2012, some 820,000 Honda vehicles were recalled because faulty wiring could cause the headlights to fail.
  • Hood defects. In December 2012, GM recalled 119,000 pick-up trucks because they were missing a hood latch, which could cause the hood to fly open unexpectedly.
  • Wiring issues. In October 2012, Honda recalled 268,000 CR-V crossover vehicles because the vehicles had a faulty power window switch that could overheat and potentially cause a fire.
  • Air bags defects. In November 2012, Chrysler recalled 900,000 Jeeps because an airbag defect could cause airbags to deploy inappropriately.

Federal regulations require that once a manufacturer becomes aware of such a defect—either because of their own testing or from customer complaints—the manufacturer has five working days to notify the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about the safety defect. The manufacturer has 60 days after notification to make a voluntary recall. If the manufacturer does not recall the vehicles, the NHTSA may order them to do so.

What can you do if you are injured because of a safety defect? Contact a Milwaukee accident lawyer as soon as possible. The Wisconsin accident attorney will need to take immediate steps to protect the evidence that will support your injury claim. To learn more, contact Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678 and ask to schedule a free consultation.