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Mar/Apr 2013 Issue

Squeaky wheel gets the safety recall

Thanks in part to thousands of consumer complaints, manufacturers filed more than 650 safety recalls last year, affecting nearly 18 million vehicles, child seats, and various pieces of equipment.

With its Office of Defects Investigation and Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) constantly reviews information from numerous sources to identify potential safety defects, including early warning reporting data and technical service bulletins, as well as independent auto Web sites, fan sites, bulletin boards, and trade publications for information that might warrant an investigation.

Consumers also play a major role in recalls, many of which are initiated by their complaints. In 2012, NHTSA received 41,912 complaints concerning potential safety defects, which was a slight drop from recent years when there were 49,417 complaints in 2011 and 65,765 in 2010.

“The role of the consumer in influencing auto recalls cannot be under-estimated,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “Recalls are often the direct result of a government investigation into consumer complaints.”

If you think your vehicle has a defect, report it via (888) 327-4236 or, which has detailed information about vehicle safety ratings and current recalls.

Arkansas tops list of most dog owners

In a survey conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association, Arkansas topped the list for the most dog owners of any state with nearly 48 percent of households owning a dog.

Not far behind Arkansas was Mississippi in sixth place with 45 percent of households owning a dog. Arkansas also was ranked seventh for pet ownership overall with 62 percent of homes featuring at least one pet.

While pets are great companions at home, millions of pet owners travel with their pets each year. To help them hit the road with their pets, AAA publishes “Traveling with Your Pet: The AAA PetBook®,” which provides information on more than 14,000 places to stay and play with pets. The book is available at full service AAA offices for $12.95 for members and $18.95 for nonmembers. Editions for e-readers are available via online booksellers.

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