Millions of vehicles are under recall at any given moment in the U.S., but not all owners of recalled vehicles get their car fixed. Faulty windshields and sunroofs remain on many vehicles, posing a potential safety threat to drivers and passengers. In an effort to increase the number of consumers taking advantage of open recalls on their vehicles, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have awarded $222,300 to Maryland for a pilot program.
“The Department of Transportation is working with Maryland’s Governor, Larry Hogan, and his administration to focus on improving safety on our nation’s roads, and a key component of that is addressing recall remedy rates – as many as three out of every 10 recalled vehicles have not been repaired,” said Secretary Elaine L. Chao in a statement. “Recalls are serious. Recall repairs are completely free to the consumer. This first-in-the-nation grant will serve as an example to the rest of the country as we continue to work across government to reach consumers in new and creative ways with potentially life-saving information about their vehicles.”
On average, only 70 percent of recalled vehicles are repaired. According to NHTSA, improving recall remedy rates is one of its major priorities, especially in light of the Takata airbag recall. The recall includes as many as one-third of vehicles nationwide, making it the largest and most complex recall in automotive history.
The grant is part of a two-year program to test the feasibility of providing open recall information to consumers at the time of vehicle registration. The program will begin in April 2018. However, it does not replace the vehicle manufacturer’s obligation to alert consumers of recalls on their vehicles and to provide a remedy free of charge. To obtain the vehicle recall information, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) will partner with Cox Automotive Inc.
“MDOT MVA is always looking for creative ways to provide customers with important safety information from safe driving behavior to vehicle safety information,” said MDOT MVA Administrator Christine Nizer in a statement. “We encourage customers to take advantage of the safety recall information and address them as quickly as possible.”
The information is being provided as a public service with the intent of encouraging recipients to take appropriate action to remedy any open safety recalls. MDOT MVA will report back to NHTSA regarding the results of the pilot program.
While NHTSA continues campaigning to educate consumers about the importance of repairing recalled vehicles, the FAST Act provided grants for up to six states that agreed to notify consumers of open recalls on their vehicles at the time of registration. Maryland was the only state to apply for the grant and will begin the process of developing their pilot program.