NHTSA says vehicle recalls rising

Some Washington motorists may own a vehicle that was among the more than 51 million that were recalled in 2015. This set a new record, and there was a total of nearly 900 separate recalls. Most of the recalls related to air bags made by Takata Corp. that have so far been responsible for the death of eight people and injuries to more than 100 others. The faulty inflators meant the air bags were prone to explosion, and about 19 million vehicles were recalled in connection with the inflators.

Recalls were up because Takata Corp., along with General Motors and Fiat Chrysler, faced significant fines for being slow to report problems with vehicles. In response, auto makers have stepped up their recalls in an effort to fix defects as quickly as possible.

A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration official says that fixing these problems is crucial. While most defects are fixed within 18 months, 25 percent still are not. The agency is calling for public opinion on an expansion of approaches to notifying consumers of recalls such as email or text messages.

In some cases, defects in vehicles may be the fault of negligent manufacturers. The car manufacturer or another company that makes the part for the vehicle may be responsible. A person who has been injured as the result of one of these defects might want to seek compensation from the responsible party. In some cases, the manufacturer might have been aware of the defect but failed to make a public announcement about it. Consumers might also join together to file a class-action lawsuit against a manufacturer. An attorney can work with injured victims and examine their options.