Within recent years and months, several defective auto parts recalls have been cited as causing and contributing to the injuries and deaths of thousands of drivers and passengers. The largest recall, which impacted 2.6 million vehicles, involved the U.S. automaker General Motors and revolved around a faulty ignition key switch that has, to date, been linked to the deaths of 121 people.
More recently, questions and concerns have been raised over the Japan-based auto parts maker Takata and its defective airbag inflators which, under certain conditions, are prone to explode and shower vehicle occupants with metal shrapnel. The defective airbags have been linked to roughly 100 injuries and currently an estimated 32 million vehicles that contain Takata airbags are being recalled.
These record-breaking recalls have not only spurred debate about auto safety and the responsibilities of auto makers, but also the role and responsibilities of the federal government in establishing and enforcing regulations to ensure for the safety of the American public.
Recently several U.S. senators sharply criticized the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration for the agency’s apparent failures in both identifying when a auto defect exists that warrants a recall and in moving swiftly to provide auto makers with guidance on how to address possible defects and recalls.
An audit of NHTSA was initiated last year as GM began what would become the biggest auto recall in U.S. history. One U.S. senator declared that the results of the audit are “one of the worst I’ve ever seen,” as severe deficiencies in the agency’s investigative, operational and enforcement units were revealed.
When it comes to the recent record-breaking auto recalls, it appears as though there is more than enough blame to go around. The millions of motor vehicle owners who have been impacted by these recalls and especially those who have been injured or lost loved ones; deserve answers, apologies and accountability.
Source: Detroit Free Press, “Senators slam NHTSA on auto safety,” Todd Spangler, June 23, 2015
Mlive.com, “Approved death claims related to GM ignition switch recall rise to 121,” David Muller, July 6, 2015