Car manufacturers sometimes start by downplaying a situation: Stay calm, there’s nothing to worry about. The first sign that something is really wrong is when we are told that the situation is under control, or that it was only an isolated incident. It was only a few airbags that malfunctioned, they insist, justifying it as a “margin for error” in the process. Who cares if the margin for error costs someone their life?
A new airbag recall by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging owners of certain makes and models to act immediately in replacing the defective Takata airbags. The number of vehicles involved in this recall is astounding: over seven million. In this recent recall, news surfaced as far back as 18 months ago, and as recently as mid-October of this year.
How could the defect have not been addressed sooner? Despite increases in numbers of incidents, manufacturers are not always quick to respond to a recall situation. As soon as enough incidents occur, however, the manufacturer can no longer claim these are just isolated incidents. They share how sorry they are that an accident occurred, or how they have no idea what went wrong. Sometimes an executive will take the blame and resign. Often, corners are cut to save money.
As consumers, it is important for us to make it clear to manufacturers that we are aware of any problems. Advocating for our own safety means urging testing to be done before products are released—not after. For too long companies have shipped out cars and other products knowing they might not be safe. Big businesses always seems to follow the same script when it comes to addressing the public about a vehicle issue or recall. Consumers can establish a script of their own. Possible steps might include:
- Share any problems you have with a product to determine whether it is an isolated incident
- If a problem exists, contact the proper authorities to report the unsafe condition
- Form groups to help you put pressure on the manufacturer to do the right thing
- Hold big businesses accountable by making them pay for all the suffering they have caused
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, or have determined that your vehicle is on the recent recall list through information or from a tragic accident, make sure you take steps to contact someone who has your interests in mind, and at heart. Knowing exactly how to do that can be very hard. A knowledgeable attorney who can help you force the auto industry to acknowledge the truth of their negligence is the first place to start.
(With this recent recall, owners of these vehicles should contact the manufacturer’s website to determine whether their vehicles are on the list.)