Most of us get a lot of junk mail, which often makes it difficult to spot the truly important items, but a new federal requirement for vehicle recalls aims to change that.
The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced a new mandatory recall label designed to help vehicle owners instantly identify critical mailings. All manufacturers now must display a specific safety recall label on all envelopes in which notification letters are mailed to notify owners of recalled vehicles or equipment. The new rule went into effect beginning February 18.
“Recalls only work if consumers are aware of them,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement when the news was announced earlier this month. “This new label will allow consumers to quickly recognize recall notices mailed to their homes so they can act quickly to get their vehicles, child restraints, tires, or other motor vehicle equipment fixed.”
The new label was introduced to help owners instantly distinguish essential safety notices arriving in their mailboxes from other assorted correspondence, and to avoid mistakenly discarding the crucial notices, according to the agency.
The new requirement aims to “help protect consumers from misleading sales and marketing materials that mimic, in their wording and presentation, legitimate safety recall alerts from manufacturers that can lead owners to purchase costly products and services that have no connection to a legitimate safety recall,” the agency said.
The agency said it plans to monitor for inappropriate materials and work closely with state and other federal authorities to address enforcement issues.
Other tools designed to improve recall notification for consumers include a new Android SaferCar app that provides users free access to key safety information, including recalls and safety performance. It was launched at the same time as the new label requirement earlier this month.
The new app, as well as the iOS app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, released last year, was designed to help consumers find recall information and up-to-date vehicle safety information, search the agency’s 5-Star Safety Ratings for vehicles by make and model, and subscribe to automatic vehicle recall notices.
The agency said that the new app aims to simplify the process for consumers to submit complaints regarding possible safety problems with a particular vehicle. Users will also receive important news and information on tire and child seat recalls.
“NHTSA plays an important role in investigating potential safety defects, overseeing all safety recalls and warning the public of potential safety issues involving vehicles, car seats, tires and other equipment,” David Friedman, NHTSA’s Acting Administrator, said in a statement. “By providing new and convenient tools for consumers, we hope to empower owners to take action to ensure their vehicles and loved ones are safe.”
NHTSA suggests the following safety tips and resources:
• Register Your Cars, Tires and Car Seats: Receive email notifications when manufacturers file recalls with the federal government. Individual owners of cars seats or tires can not be notified if the product is not registered with the manufacturer or NHTSA.
• Get Alerts Sent Directly to Your Phone: With the SaferCar mobile app, recall information can be sent directly to Androids, iPhones, and RSS feeds. The app also provides information on crash test ratings and child seat installation locations.
• Check for Open Recalls on Used Cars: Verify with the previous owner or dealer whether or not a used car has been fixed. SaferCar.gov provides a search tool to help consumers identify recalls and later this year, VIN look-up will be available when a new mandate goes into effect making it easier for consumers to access this information.
Source: Forbes Apple