Car makers must issue a notice of defect (recall) when they become aware of a defect that affects or is likely to affect safety. But that doesn’t mean that all safety recalls are completed in a timely manner. Or that all the vehicles even get fixed anytime in the future. Given that, there is no penalty against car makers for delays in fixing the faulty cars.
So the responsibility of getting the recalls completed, once the notice is delivered, falls to the owners of those vehicles. Usually, owners of the vehicles with recalls are not penalized either, when recalls are not done during their ownership time. You can also throw in fleets and dealers into that vehicle owner group, but neither them have no obligation to get recall done.
The most frequent reason car owners/users may not get a recall completed during their ownership with the vehicle, is lack of parts. Such is the case with the Takata air bag recall. Even if there were legislative procedures to get manufacturers and fleets to complete recalls, the safety of drivers is enough reason for fleet managers to get recalls done quickly. Well prepared companies have policies in place to make sure their fleet drivers get recall notices asap. Also, they are alerted when a driver contacts a service unit, notifying the company and the driver that a recall is ongoing.
Fleet Tips on Recalls
It’s not easy to get car drivers on busy schedules to actually get the recall repairs completed. Just tell your driver that there is an open safety recall on their car and they need to get the vehicle fixed. Don’t go into specifics of the recall. This eliminates drivers deciding on their own, to forgo recall repairs that they perceive as non-critical (fleet managers call this ‘recall fatigue’).
To mitigate the risk of recalls, the vehicle selection process must take into account the recall history of the model. Also, first generation models are prone to more recalls than more mature models. In case of critical recalls, the obvious measure is to stop using and replace the vehicle immediately. Fortunately, such cases are extremely rare in automotive history.