NHTSA launches consumer campaign

The US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched a new public awareness campaign called Safe Cars Save Lives.

The campaign urges consumers to check for open recalls at least twice a year and to get their vehicles fixed as soon as parts are available. Last year, there were close to 900 recalls affecting 51 million vehicles nationwide. Every year, on average, 25% of recalled vehicles are left unrepaired.

‘Recalls are a serious safety issue that should be promptly addressed,’ said US transportation secretary, Anthony Foxx. ‘An informed consumer is one of our strongest allies in ensuring recalled vehicles are repaired. Do not wait to act if your car is under recall and the parts are available.’

Back in April 2015, NHTSA convened a Retooling Recalls workshop comprised of leading transportation officials, automotive industry representatives, safety advocates and researchers to examine the reasons for low recall repair rates, and options for improving the process.

To that end, NHTSA has also issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM). The ANPRM seeks to identify additional ways to notify vehicle owners, purchasers and dealers of safety-related defects and non-compliances.

When cars are recalled in the US, manufacturers provide the affected VINs to be loaded into the NHTSA database so consumers can search for open recalls. Owners are contacted directly by the manufacturers through the postal mail using a specially marked envelope to distinguish it from junk mail.