The new head of the U.S. Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently stated that recent attention on defective automobiles will likely result in over 60 million vehicles being recalled in 2015.
NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind told reporters that the agency has made it a top priority to improve the way it tracks potentially defective vehicles. According to Rosekind, the key is making sure that regulators address and fix safety problems.
The automobile industry underwent a wave of scrutiny last year after some of the world’s biggest automobile manufacturers recalled millions of vehicles with potentially deadly defects. In 2014, Congress conducted hearings that included executives from General Motors, Takata, Honda, and Toyota.
Last year, over 75,000 vehicle owners expressed concerns to the NHTSA about potentially defective vehicles. This almost doubled the 40,000 owners who reported potential defects in 2013. Mr. Rosekind attributed this rise in consumer reports to the recent congressional hearings and news reports on defective vehicles.
More than 60 million vehicles were recalled in 2014 alone, which far exceeded the previous high of 30.8 million recalls in 2004. The majority of these recalls were attributed to GM’s defective ignition switches and Takata’s defective airbags, which were recalled to prevent any further deaths.
This year General Motors recalled more vehicles than any automaker in U.S. history. In sum, the company recalled 27 vehicles in the United States. However, GM acted too late, as GM’s defective ignition switches have already been linked to at least 42 deaths and 58 injuries.