Federal Grant Program Aims to Inform Consumers about Vehicle Safety Recalls
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced that states can now apply for funding to help drivers learn about open safety recalls on their vehicles. According to news reports, in 2017, NHTSA entered into a $222,300 cooperative agreement with the state of Maryland, launching a two-year pilot program to provide open recall information to consumers when they register a new vehicle or renew a registration.
A Notification Program with Promise
From April 2018 to January of this year, officials said Maryland had 4.6 million vehicle registrations renewed, with 456,000 of those vehicles identified as having 943,000 open recalls Of those 371,000 were repaired, according to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, and more than 32% of the recalls remedied were airbags. NHTSA said that this grant program will provide funds totaling $1.5 million to six states to notify consumers of open recalls during vehicle registration.
Officials said the states would notify owners and lessees of vehicles along with their registration notices. Each notification will consist of a brief description of the auto defect, the nature of the recall and information about getting it repaired right away at the manufacturer’s authorized dealer.
The states will implement this notification program for two years and then assess the results, according to NHTSA officials. Officials were also quick to point out that this program in no way lets automakers off the hook when it comes to their legal obligation to alert consumers about vehicle recalls and provide repairs free of charge.
Why It’s Important
According to NHTSA, only about 60% of recalled vehicles are repaired. This is extremely concerning because it means that the remaining 40% of vehicles, which could add up to tens of millions of vehicles, are out on the roadways without the necessary recall repairs. The Takata airbag recall is an example of the damage lack of recall repairs has caused. A number of these deaths and serious injuries could have been avoided had the automakers involved got the information out in time and performed the repairs in a prompt manner.
As auto defect lawyers, we hope this notification program does its job and alerts vehicle owners about pending recall repairs. If you have been injured as the result of a defective auto or a recalled vehicle that has not been repaired, please contact an experienced auto defect attorney for more information about pursuing your rights.