Bailey & Partners Comments on Record Number of Auto Recalls in 2014

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Bailey & Partners represents injury victims from throughout the United States and the world including clients who have been injured by defective automobiles. Patrick Bailey shares his observations on the record number of automobiles that were recalled in 2014.

At Bailey & Partners, we encourage the public to stay informed about these kinds of safety issues because they should be addressed before tragedies strike. The public needs to consistently remind corporate leaders that safety is a priority.

Last year set a new record for auto recalls. According to the New York Times, there were 60 million vehicles recalled in 2014. This doubles the previous record of recalled vehicles set in 2004 according to the Times article by Bill Vlasic and Hilary Stout “Auto Industry Galvanized After Record Recall Year” from December 30, 2014.

Personal Injury and Product Liability Lawyer Patrick Bailey, of Bailey & Partners, says that “no matter what the reason was for the high number of recalls, I believe a major problem in the industry is the outsourcing of so many tasks. This makes oversight and quality control very difficult and this may have been the reason earlier action wasn't taken.” The attorney, who has more than 30 years of experience, refers to the Takata air bag recall as a prime example.

Bailey argues that “auto makers and the companies they sub-contract with should take immediate and aggressive action to keep the public safe. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other government agencies are tasked with keeping the public safe but they have a huge task and are often reactive rather than proactive."

Though GM, Toyota and other automakers have recalled vehicles for other reasons, the Takata air bag recall may be the largest reason for the massive number of recalls that occurred last year. “There have been so many recalls related to the air bag issue because many of the cars with a potentially fatal defect are late model cars," Bailey says. "This air bag problem is not new but the scope of the problem has only recently come to light. The media reported on the issue before but the public only started paying close attention once the recalls reached into the tens of millions."

According to a December 3, 2014 New York Times article "Honda to Expand Airbag Recall Nationwide as Takata Resits" by Aaron M. Kessler and Hiroku Tabuchi, Honda has expanded their recall in recent months despite Takata's resistance to recalling their air bags nationwide. According to the story, Takata continues to assert that only vehicles in high-humidity areas should be recalled because "The moisture, Takata says, could be causing the airbags to explode violently when they deploy, sending metal fragments flying into the cabin."

The problem seems to have a long history though Congress and the public are focused on it now more so than ever before. A timeline in the December 9, 2014 edition of Singapore's TODAY indicates that the Honda recalls related to the air bags began in 2008 with just over 4, 000 vehicles recalled. In 2009, approximately 500, 000 more Hondas were recalled for the same reason, according to the timeline. By December of 2014, Honda and Acura recalls reached into the millions when the company expanded its recall nationwide for air bag-related concerns. Other car companies equipped with Takata air bags also added to the recall numbers but Honda has recalled the most for this reason.

Bailey says that if the companies had taken more aggressive action sooner, "2014 may not have been a record year for recalls since they would have been distributed across multiple years in greater numbers. Thankfully they are taking action now but, at Bailey & Partners, we encourage the public to stay informed about these kinds of safety issues because they should be addressed before tragedies strike. The public needs to consistently remind corporate leaders that safety is a priority. If those leaders fail in their responsibility, the public should hold them accountable in courts of law.”

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Betsy Passarelli
@BaileyPartners
since: 09/2009
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