We live in a time when motor vehicle recalls occur almost daily. Over the past five years, 10 million vehicles have been recalled due to defective airbags alone. This staggering number represents only a small percentage of the overall number of vehicles recalled for various types of problems.
Perhaps the most publicized recall involves the “defective ignition switches” on General Motors vehicles. It is estimated that over 3,350,000 vehicles were recalled as a result of this defect.
Of course, some recalls do not deal directly with defects that threaten consumer safety; however, the airbag and ignition switch defects caused many fatalities and serious injuries.
What has brought the automobile industry to this state? Perhaps noone can specifically answer that question or provide a full list of reasons. The problem may lie with faulty design, sloppy management, employee negligence, poor employee supervision and inadequate quality control. Most likely, improvement is necessary in all of these areas. Until such time as that, all motorists will remain at risk.
Recalls may be an effective tool to correct some problems, but it is prevention and proper product production which must be the goal of all motor vehicle manufacturing. The consuming public must demand defect free motor vehicles. The automobile manufacturers must be held accountable when they produce and sell a defective product to an unwitting consumer. This is particularly so when the dangerously defective product is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury to the consumer. Legislation, holding the automobile industry accountable to the families of the victims and the injured themselves, is the only way to insure that the automobile industry will not continue to manufacture dangerously defective vehicles.
--- James T. Davis, Esquire