The number of auto defect complaints made by motorists to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration spiked in 2010, spurred, no doubt, by the massive Toyota recalls last year.
According to the NHTSA, it received a four-fold increase of more than 40,000 complaints in 2010. Approximately, 25% of the complaints were related to Toyota vehicles. The automaker suffered the biggest fall from grace in 2010, with defect complaints relating to its vehicles jumping to 87 for every 100,000 vehicles in 2010. Nissan came in at the second spot with 62 complaints for every 100,000 vehicles, and Volkswagen had 50 complaints for every 100,000 vehicles.
As Indiana injury lawyers, we believe that the fact that there have been more complaints in 2010, is not necessarily a bad thing. For years, a small percentage of Americans was unfamiliar with an agency called the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Barring Indiana personal injury lawyers and automakers, few people had heard of the NHTSA, or knew what it did. Now, more people are aware that complaints about vehicles can be brought to the attention of the NHTSA. The agency reviews each complaint, and looks for patterns. When a pattern is detected, the agency decides to initiate an investigation.
A small percentage of the complaints that are made to the NHTSA will actually result in an investigation or a recall. However, it is important for consumers to let the NHTSA know about potential defects by logging on to the NHTSA website to file their complaint. Automakers can also call the agency’s toll-free number at 888-327-4236.
You can thank Toyota for this increased awareness about auto safety. Because of the company’s recalls in 2010 for everything from sudden, unintended acceleration to steering problems, more consumers are now aware that their cars could conceal safety defects.