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Auto defects lead to increasing number of auto recalls

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a new record was set last year for vehicle recalls throughout the United States, including in West Virginia. In light of this, automotive regulators and automakers are striving to change how they address auto defects. This is of particular concern since millions of vehicles have had to be repaired at the start of 2016 due to possibly defective air bags by Takata.

Part of the reason that the recall count has been increasing is the threat of sanctions. Sanctions actually jumped to a whopping $105 million for each safety violation according to a new transportation bill in the United States. The currently stiffer penalties should put more pressure of vehicle companies to quickly take action with regard to safety problems.

The increase in recalls has occurred for other reasons as well, including the fact that many manufacturers share components to try to enhance their economies of scale. This is done in place of designing completely unique widgets for models and brands. As a result, a defect that in the past resulted in a recall involving thousands of cars may today involve millions of cars or at least hundreds of thousands of vehicles.

Even when car manufacturers catch auto defects and issue recalls, sometimes people in West Virginia end up getting hurt by the defective cars before their vehicles' problems are properly addressed. When a vehicle defect causes a person to suffer injuries, he or she has the right to file a liability claim against the car manufacturer, pursuing damages. Awarded damages may help to cover the victim's related medical care costs and even address pain and suffering as well as emotional distress caused by the use of the hazardous vehicle.

Source: NBC News, "Rise in Auto Recalls Reflects New Carrot and Stick Strategy on Safety", Paul A. Eisenstein, Jan. 25, 2016

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