California product liability lawyers saw a lot of activity on the auto safety front in 2012, with more than 650 auto recalls announced in 2012. The recalls involved more than 17.8 million vehicles, child seats and other auto equipment. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration played a major role in many of the recalls that were announced last year.
According to the agency, it was responsible for influencing the recalls of as many as 9 million vehicles, as well as 60,000 items of auto-related equipment, like child safety seats and tires. The highest number of recalled vehicles last year were manufactured by Toyota which accounted for more than 5.3 million vehicles recalled last year. Second on the list in terms of the number of vehicles recalled was Honda which recalled 3.3 million vehicles in 2012. Following was General Motors which recalled 1.47 million vehicles last year. Other companies that featured in the top 10 recall list were Ford Motor Company, Chrysler Group, Subaru of America, BMW of North America, Mazda North American Operations, Hyundai – Kia America Technical Center, Kia Motors Corp. and Nissan North America.
Many recalls are initiated by complaints filed by owners of vehicles. Consumers can file an auto safety defect complaint with the Office of Defects Investigation. Not every complaint will result in an investigation. However, when there are a number of similar complaints, the agency may decide to begin an investigation into the complaint. If the agency believes that it is warranted, it will influence the company to announce a recall.
Besides relying on consumer complaints, the Office of Defects Investigation and the Office of Vehicle Safety also monitor information from a number of sources from around the world to identify potentially dangerous auto defects. The agencies rely on technical service bulletins, and scour auto websites, fan sites, trade publications, magazines as well as bulletin boards, looking for information about possible complaints.
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