The United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released a new rule that will require carmakers to install a tool on their Web sites that will enable consumers to see whether vehicles have been recalled. NHTSA wants all car and motorcycle companies to provide the online recall search tool by Aug. 14, 2014.
Carmakers will also be required to make recall notices more explicit, in part by having the words "urgent safety recall'' in capital letters and an enlarged font at the top of the letter.
The changes are to resolve NHTSA’s concerns that it remains too difficult for customers to determine whether their units have been recalled.
The agency said the steps will provide customers peace of mind on their vehicles as well as increase the number of recalled vehicles that are fixed. According to NHTSA, completion rate for fixed vehicles is around 70 percent, depending on the nature of the defect.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement that safety is the highest priority, noting that an informed consumer is one of their “strongest allies in that effort." The new search function will allow car owners enter a vehicle identification number. Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda and Volkswagen are already offering the search function on their respective Web sites.
NHTSA already lets car owners to enter their car's make, nameplate and model year to determine whether their unit has been recalled However, only a small portion of vehicles from a certain model year are defective, thus making it more difficult for vehicle owners to see if their cars are affected.
Carmakers like Ford Motor Co. have questioned NHTSA’s new rule, saying the agency could just post links to their Web sites rather than having them submit the data to regulators. [source: automotive news - sub. required]