Vehicle Recall Notifications Provided By New NHTSA App

Federal highway safety officials have released a new mobile app, which allows consumers to register their vehicles and safety equipment, so that they receive automatic notifications about vehicle recalls or potential risks associated with infant car seats, tires and other equipment.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the release of the updated SafeCar app on August 27, providing what the agency says will be a convenient and hassle free resource to notify consumers about recalls or safety problems.

The agency states the newly designed app will make recall information more readily available, by automatically matching a consumer’s registered products to recalled products listed in the agency’s national database, rather than making consumers search for recalls or waiting for an automaker to mail a notice.

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The free app, which is available for Android and iOS, allows users to quickly search for product recall information or receive notifications about new recall releases without the NHTSA’s development of additional services, which saves funding for taxpayers.

Within the app, customers will be prompted to set up their “virtual garage” which includes entering the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of the vehicle. The app also allows users to enter specific details of equipment they own such as car seats, tires, and jack stands, to receive notifications when they are involved in recalls.

When a customer’s registered vehicle or equipment is involved in a recall, the app will send a notification with the recall information, and also relay where the nearest dealerships are located to schedule a repair appointment.

NHTSA officials point out that there were 53 million vehicles, car seats, tires and vehicle equipment products recalled in 2019, 35 million in 2018, and 42 million in 2017.

According to the NHTSA, one in four vehicles on U.S. roadways have an open and unrepaired recall that pose varying degrees of safety risks to drivers, occupants, and others on the road.

For example, as of January this year, an estimated 30% of all 50 million vehicles equipped with rupturing Takata airbag inflators had not been repaired. To date the inflators, which are prone to spontaneously rupturing, have caused 25 fatalities worldwide and more than 300 injuries from shrapnel being projected throughout the cab. Officials continue to oversee the expedited repair process, however challenges of replacement part availability and consumer outreach efforts remain.


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