With millions of vehicles on the road in the U.S., it isn’t surprising that the number of auto recalls being made by manufacturers has risen slightly in recent years. What is surprising is how many car owners ignore these recalls and skip the necessary repairs. When a recall goes out for a potentially dangerous issue, many car owners may find themselves at risk—and not even realize it. It’s critical for the owners of recalled autos to get the right repairs, but a shockingly low number actually do.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 20% of recalled vehicles go unrepaired. Looking at recent recall data, that statistic works out to about 10 million vehicles in the past 3 years. That means that 10 million vehicles are on the road and at a higher risk of having a dangerous failure occur. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) conducted a study to try and find out what causes people to forgo repairs that could keep them safe, and found some very interesting results.
Common Concerns Drivers Have
Many drivers in the study expressed other concerns that ultimately caused them to avoid bringing their vehicle in for recall repairs. These concerns included:
- The dealership pushing unnecessary services or repairs
- Not having a car while theirs was being repaired
- Repairs taking too long or being difficult to schedule
- Uncertainty regarding the actual importance of the repair
- Not knowing when or where to go for repairs
- Uncertainty whether their vehicle was affected
- Not knowing who to contact to get repairs or further information
What Do Drivers Do When They Receive a Recall?
Many drivers were reluctant to bring their vehicles in for repairs after a recall was sent out. The UMTRI asked respondents what they did instead if they didn’t bring their vehicle in for repairs, so they could get a better understanding of how drivers reacted to recalls. Here are some of the answers they received when they asked participants about their experience with their most recall notice:
- 23.1% were not concerned about the issue or recall notice.
- 17.3% got rid of the vehicle in question.
- 9.6% no longer owned the recalled vehicle at the time of the recall.
- 5.8% were too busy to schedule repairs.
- 5.8% felt they lived too far from the dealership to bring their vehicle in for the recall.
Nearly a third of respondents cited another reason besides the above for their failure to respond to the recall notice.
Do Other Factors Affect Recall Response?
The study found that owners are less likely to repair older vehicles than newer vehicles, even when they feel the issue is very important to repair. If the safety risk is seen to be a moderate to low risk, however, more owners neglected to get repairs than those who thought the risk was much higher. Distance from the dealership or repair facility was another factor, since those who lived more than 15 minutes away from the facility were 20% less likely to seek repairs than those who lived within 15 minutes of the repair shop. Scheduling was another factor, since respondents were less likely to bring their vehicle in for a repair if they had a difficult time getting an appointment.
Understanding why vehicle owners neglect recall notices is an important focus for safety institutes, since encouraging consumers to respond to recalls can help avoid serious accidents and injuries as a result of defective products. Many researchers work hard to increase the response rate of consumers to recalls, including exploring what can be done to make responding easier, providing more information on recalls, and finding the most effective ways to notify consumers.
If you’ve been injured by a vehicle defect, you may be eligible for compensation. Our Kansas City product liability attorneys have the knowledge and experience you need on your side when filing your claim. Let our team at Bertram & Graf, L.L.C. fight for your best interests today.
Schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with our legal team today. Call (888) 398-2277 to begin.