Low Consumer Response to Vehicle Recall Campaigns Endangers Drivers

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2014 was a record year for auto recalls in Arkansas and throughout the United States. The Takata exploding airbag defect and the GM ignition switch defects resulted in the recall of millions of vehicles. In fact, 2014 was the year where previous recall records – including the previous record of 55 .6 million in 1999 — were shattered by the 64 million recalled cars, trucks, and SUVs. Over the course of 2014, vehicle manufactures issued an average of 2.2 recalls each day.

Unfortunately the hazards created by this recall are likely to persist for years, if not a decade or more. This is because consumers are unlikely to seek repair after receiving a recall notice. In fact, 1 in 3 consumers, or 33 percent, fail to take action after receiving notice of a recall. Failure to take action unnecessarily increases the risk of severe accident and injury. If you have been seriously hurt or if a loved one has been killed due to a defective vehicle, contact Ken Kieklak of the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak today. Ken has fought for injured Arkansans for more than 20 years.

Why do consumers fail to get their vehicles repaired following a recall?

Like nearly any human behavior the reasons behind why people fail to seek repair after being informed of a recall are complex and, typically, varied. What may serve as a major motivator for some, may be of only limited importance to others. However, the reasons why people may fail to take action include:

  • Unaware of dealer’s programs to make repairs more convenient – Many dealers offer a loaner vehicle, rental reimbursement or other services to make securing a repair more convenient for vehicle owners. Owners who think that they will be forced to miss a day of work or stay at the dealership all day are less likely to seek repair even if they know about the defect.
  • Risk of defect seem remote or there is no clear benefit – Time is perhaps the most valuable resource in the world. When people do not believe that the risk is severe, when they do not perceive a benefit to having the repair performed, or when the owner otherwise cannot justify the time commitment they are less likely to seek repair.
  • Reliance on workarounds – Sometimes the manufacturer will provide workarounds which can reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of the defect occurring. If a different driver operates the vehicle or if the car or truck is sold, there is a heightened risk that the defect will cause severe injury or death.
  • Unavailable parts – As we have seen in the case of the ignition switch repairs and the Takata airbag replacements, massive recalls lead to sudden spikes in demand. This may mean that there are not enough parts to satisfy all repairs. When consumers are forced to wait for a repair they may think that the issue is less severe than it really is. Furthermore, the may end up forgetting about the issue entirely.

In short, there are a myriad of reasons why people fail to seek repairs or have their repairs delayed to the point where they forget about the risk.

Used defective vehicles are sold to unsuspecting purchasers

Safety experts have urged for measures designed to improve the recall response rate. This is, in part, because federal law has no provision forbidding the sale of vehicles with known safety defects. Some experts have gone so far as to say that motorist bear at least some of the responsibility when they fail to seek repair for known vehicle defects. For their part, some of the auto manufactures have launched incentives programs to encourage a higher recall response rate. General Motors offered free oil changes, gift cards and other benefits to drivers who responded to notices for ignition switch repairs. Honda has recently announced plans for an ad campaign that touts the benefits of airbag inspection and repair in its vehicles.

Injured by a defective car or truck? We can help.

If you have been seriously injured by a defective car, truck or SUV Ken Kieklak may be able to help. Ken has fought for injured Arkansans for more than 20 years and works to hold the responsible parties financially accountable. He can stand up to the insurance company and their lawyers while handling the entire process for you. To schedule a free, confidential initial consultation call (479) 251-7767 or contact us online today.

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