Automakers recalled a record 51.26 million vehicles last year in the U.S. over defects, continuing a two-decade trend of vigilance from manufacturers and regulators.
This beat the previous mark of 50.99 million vehicles that was set in 2014. Almost 900 separate recalls were made last year, which also surpassed 2014's figure of 803, said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in a press release on Thursday.
The record number follows promises by the NHTSA to improve their recall system after criticism over their delayed response in recalling 2.6 million General Motors (gm) vehicles for ignition switch defects linked to 124 deaths, reported Reuters.
"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," NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said at the Washington Auto Show, according to Reuters.
Recalls rose as automakers responded to the harsh fines levied against Fiat Chrysler (fcau), GM and Takata (tktdy) for their slow reporting of defects, reported AP. As a result, manufacturers moved faster to issue recalls to correct problems.
The number of recalls have also been rising steadily over the last two decades, led by activism within automakers like GM and closer scrutiny from consumer groups and government.