Need to Check for a Car Recall? NHTSA Has an App for That
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the federal agency that oversees vehicle recalls, released a new smartphone app that will notify owners of recalls on vehicles, trucks, recreational vehicles or RVs, motorcycles, tires, child car seats and even certain defective vehicle parts. According to Consumer Reports, the app called “SaferCar” is available for both iOS and Android phones and it could help alert car owners to important safety recalls long before traditional mailed notices can reach them.
NHTSA is required under the law to send recall notices via first-class mail. But, safety advocates fear that letters alone may not suffice when it comes to warning car owners about potentially deadly defects, especially as more Americans move and change their addresses during the coronavirus pandemic and the U.S. Postal Service struggles with delays in service.
How the App Works
The SaferCar app essentially allows owners to enter or scan their car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) and receive phone notifications if their specific vehicle is subject to a recall. This is a unique identifier that is usually printed on a vehicle’s registration paperwork and is visible through the bottom front of the windshield on the outside of the car.
Consumer Reports tried using the app and found that it is easy to use and does a good job of telling vehicle owners if their vehicles are in need of repair. It also tells them whether there are any outstanding recalls requiring work on the car, which is extremely valuable information from a safety standpoint, and it allows for notifications to be sent for future recall notices.
In addition, owners can create a virtual “garage” where they can add and track recalls for other automotive-related products such as tires, child car seats and trailers. The app will also tell owners where they can get the fit of their car seat checked, which is important because about half of all child car seats are incorrectly installed.
An Important Step to Improve Safety
The launch of this app by NHTSA is a crucial step in improving auto safety and the overall recall process. It helps consumers find out about recalls in a timely fashion and provides a platform that may be built upon to better track when recalls are done and to prioritize those that are most important.
Reaching consumers in a timely manner can help ensure that vehicles are repaired promptly. This helps save lives that are lost to defective autos. If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective vehicle or auto part, please contact an experienced auto defect lawyer to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.