When it comes to recalled vehicles, few of us know what to do when recalls that impact us are issued but never publicized. Unfortunately for several Americans, older vehicles continue to be the deadliest among the recalled car lists, mostly due to the fact that owners are difficult to track.
Experts have been talking about the possible risks associated with recalled old vehicles, pushing owners to look up their vehicles with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recall listings before deadly accidents occur.
Takata Air Bag Problem Illustrates Risks
Recent reports concerning an older vehicle impacted by the Takata air bag issue prompted experts to urge other car owners to make sure their vehicles are safe. The accident involved a 2002 Honda Civic with the defective Takata air bags. The report shows that when the vehicle crashed, the air bag inflator exploded, causing several metal fragments to explode in all directions. This incident caused the driver to suffer a major eye injury as a result.
When the recall campaign associated with the vehicle involved in this accident was released, the vehicle’s owner did not receive a recall notice right away. According to the report, the woman also brought in her car to the Honda dealership where she purchased the car after the recall was issued, but was never warned about the campaign.
Because older vehicles are often owned by drivers who have moved several times or have purchased the vehicle at used car dealerships, manufacturers have a hard time tracking them. This impossibility makes it more likely for owners of older cars to respond to recall campaigns, thus increasing the risks of auto accidents.
According to the Government Accountability Office, recall completion rates range from about 55 to 75 percent mostly because owners do not report changes of address to state vehicle registration offices. This makes it more difficult for automakers to contact car owners whose vehicles are recalled over potentially serious problems.
Also, some automakers have a hard time having access to current address details due to the fact some states require the vehicle owner’s signature before his or her information is released. Some experts believe that the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s own regulations concerning the recall and the announcement process could also have something to do with the automakers’ difficulties in contacting impacted car owners.
Since affected consumers must be contacted via the mail exclusively, automakers may be having a hard time keeping up with the address changes, thus having an even harder time reaching consumers whose lives could be in danger due to the equipment failure impacting recalled cars.
In the United States, more than 17 million cars have been impacted by the Takata air bag problem and yet, only about 65 percent of recalled cars are fixed yearly. If this is also true with this particular recall, about 6 million drivers would continue using their vehicles without having their air bag inflators replaced with functional parts.
If you’re curious to learn more about this particular recall and how older car owners are exposed to accident risks as a result, make sure to follow this link to learn more.