Vehicle safety recalls: Why drivers don't heed them


An infographic highlighting why people often skip the recommended vehicle safety recalls.ANN ARBOR—A new national survey from the University of Michigan explores why many consumers don't heed vehicle safety recalls and what steps might boost compliance.

Safety recalls related to cars and light trucks are substantial. For example, in 2015 about 51 million vehicles and 34 million vehicle-related pieces of equipment were recalled, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

"Compounding the problem of the large number of vehicle-related recalls is the relatively low response rate to recall notices," said Michael Sivak, research professor at the U-M Transportation Research Institute.

A full 20 percent of vehicle owners continue to skip the fixes, according to NHTSA.

The new analysis was based on data from 516 respondents to the online survey, which was conducted by Sivak and UMTRI colleague Brandon Schoettle. While the survey also dealt with safety recalls for any products, it focused on recalls related to auto safety.

The three most frequently mentioned concerns preventing individuals from responding to vehicle-related safety recalls were:

Possible new options that could increase compliance with automakers' recalls included:

Other notable survey results:

The survey, Consumer Preferences Regarding Vehicle-Related Safety Recalls, was supported by UMTRI's Sustainable Worldwide Transportation Program.


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