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Was 2014 the Year of the Auto Recall?

Auto manufacturers set an unfortunate record in 2014. More than 60 million motor vehicles were recalled in the United States this year.

By comparison, manufacturers recalled nearly 22 million defective cars and trucks during 2013. According to the National Highway Transportation and Safety (NHTSA) Administration, the second highest recall total in a single year was in 1999, when 55.6 million were recalled.

The massive number of recalled vehicles resulted from several serious defects. To start, General Motors recalled nearly 27 million vehicles in 2014, which is a record for any single automaker. The majority involved faulty ignition switches, which are now linked to at least 42 deaths and 58 injuries.

As previously discussed on this San Diego Injury Blog, the automaker knew that the part was defective for more than ten years, but failed to issue a recall until earlier this year. The failure to act resulted in a record $35 million fine and has also spurred Senate hearings, federal legislation, and internal investigations. GM is facing thousands of personal injury claims and has established a fund to provide compensation to victims.

Faulty Takada airbags also resulted in millions of cars and trucks being recalled. The defect has impacted seven automakers, with Honda Motor Co. alone recalling more than 5.4 million vehicles. The airbags pose a deadly risk because they can rupture and propel metal parts into the vehicle. To date, five people have been killed.

As San Diego injury lawyers, we are hopeful that any continued increase in recalls is attributed to greater vigilance rather than declining vehicle quality. Carmakers and the NHTSA are both experiencing significant pressure to remove unsafe vehicles from the road as quickly as possible.

For consumers concerned about the mounting auto recalls, the federal government did launch a useful new tool in 2014. The free, online database allows consumers to identify uncompleted recalls by entering their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

The lawyers at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage in San Diego provide knowledgeable legal representation in the areas of product liability, personal injury/negligence, medical malpractice, elder abuse, and employment discrimination.