The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced on Jan. 21 that automakers recalled 51.3 million vehicles in the United States last year, the second-highest ever, in 868 separate recall campaigns. NHTSA and automakers have come under harsh criticism on auto safety issues from Congress and others in the wake of General Motors’ delayed recall of 2.6 million vehicles for ignition switch defects linked to hundreds of deaths. NHTSA is now pressuring automakers to recall more vehicles more quickly – and has imposed record-setting fines. As a result, last year’s recall campaigns numbered the most in U.S. history.

In 2014, NHTSA said automakers recalled a record 63.9 million vehicles in 803 campaigns – led by GM’s recall of 26 million vehicles. The agency reclassified about 12 million vehicles that were recalled first in 2014 – mostly for defective Takata airbags – and were re-recalled in 2015. NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said at the Washington Auto Show:

Massive recalls are still a prominent feature of the safety landscape. NHTSA has made major efforts in the last year to improve our processes for identifying vehicle defects, and that effort will continue.

For the last few weeks, automakers have been saying they are going to do more to improve auto safety. In addition, NHTSA has announced the launch of its “Safe Cars Save Lives” advertising campaign to raise awareness among the public of the actions needed to keep people safe from vehicle safety defects. The year-long digital ad campaign, accompanied by online video and information resources, is aimed at convincing owners to use NHTSA’s VIN lookup tool regularly to check for uncompleted recalls. Hopefully the automakers and NHTSA, working together, will make our highways safer. At least they will have that opportunity.

Source: Insurance Journal

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