Vehicles are designed to keep you safe, but there are times when things go wrong. That’s why automakers have to recall millions of vehicles every year—to make sure that every driver is protected from issues like faulty brakes and tires.
The problem is that some of these recalls don’t get fixed fast enough. In fact, according to a recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 1 million vehicles are involved in safety recalls every year. And many of those will never be fixed.
This is because automakers are often slow to issue recalls, or they wait too long before they do so. Some manufacturers even wait until after accidents occur to issue recalls for problems that could have prevented them altogether.
For example, General Motors (GM) recently recalled 2.6 million cars with faulty ignition switches that left drivers without power steering or braking systems while they were driving down the road. In this case, GM waited nearly two years after it was first informed that there were problems with its ignition switch models—and then only issued a recall after two deaths occurred as a result of this defect.
In 2014, car manufacturers have been recalling millions of vehicles due to faulty parts and materials.
The biggest recalls this year came from General Motors (GM), which had 30 million vehicles recalled for a variety of defects. The biggest problem was a faulty ignition switch that caused some models to catch fire when the engine was turned off. Other vehicles were recalled for defective gas pedals that could cause unintended acceleration.
When an automaker chooses to sit on a recall, it puts the lives of millions of people at risk and causes untold damage to the reputation of its brand.
In 2000, Bridgestone Tires recalled 6.5 million faulty tires that killed 271 people and injured another 600.
Toyota and GM illustrate the devastating consequences that occur if a recall goes unissued and drivers are left in the dark. Drivers are left with the consequences after an accident occurs without realizing it was the fault of the vehicle and automaker, not the person behind the wheel.