Automakers had their hands full with recalls last year, at least according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Today the NHTSA announced that vehicle manufacturers had filed more than 650 safety recalls in 2012, which includes more than 17.8 million vehicles, child seats and other equipment related to automobiles.
The NHTSA says it couldn’t do the recall work it does without consumers reaching out to the agency with safety concerns. It uses consumer complaints as part of its overall effort to identify possibly unsafe vehicles or other equipment, noting that in 2012 it received 41,912 reports of potential safety defects. That’s a slight uptick from 2011.
“The role of the consumer in influencing auto recalls cannot be under-estimated,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “Consumers are the lifeblood of the recall process and recalls are often the direct result of a government investigation into consumer complaints.”
It also pats itself on the back in today’s press release (as it should) for influencing more than 9 million vehicle recalls and 60,000 others involving child seats, tires and other equipment.
“Every day millions of motorists are safe on our nation’s roadways because of the work and dedication of our defect investigation and compliance teams here at NHTSA,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We have one of the most effective programs in the world and will continue, in 2013, to pursue investigations and recalls wherever our data justifies doing so.”
According to the NHTSA’s report, about 586 of last year’s recalls were vehicles for a total of 16.2 million autos. The agency urges any consumers with safety concerns to report them at www.safercar.gov.