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Jason R. Schultz P.C

New Rule Would Require Manufacturers Send Electronic Recall Notices


Posted on Sep 21, 2016

When a car manufacturer such as Ford or Toyota learns that one of the parts in their cars is defective or dangerous, they are required to send a recall notice. These recall notifications, which are required by law under the Safety Act, bring knowledge of the defective parts to owners of the vehicles in question so that necessary safety repairs can be made.

Currently, manufacturers are only required to send recall notifications through the mail. However, that may be changing thanks to a recent proposal by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) which would require manufacturers alert automobile owners via electronic means such as email, text, or radio ads.

What is the NHTSA’s proposal?

On September 1, 2016, the NHTSA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, proposed a rule on that would require vehicle manufacturers to send notification of recalls through electronic means in addition to the standard first-class mail notifications. The proposed rule would also require manufacturers to send more than one notification if a majority of vehicle owners do not bring their cars in to repair the issue at hand.

The goal of the NHTSA’s proposed is to improve the overall effectiveness of recall notifications in general and to ensure that more vehicles are repaired after a recall notice.

What is the status of the rule proposal?

Currently, the NHTSA’s proposal to change how vehicle owners are notified of recalls is under consideration. During this time, anyone can send in comments weighing in on whether or not the proposal should be made into law. You can also give you opinion on what electronic format would be best for notifications.

As the proposal is written, the exact method of electronic notification has not been determined.

Already, several concerned parties have used the comments to suggest the best electronic methods including:

  • Email
  • Text messages
  • Radio or television notifications
  • Phone calls, automated or live
  • Social media alerts, including Facebook notifications
  • Other targeted online campaigns
  • Direct-to-vehicle notifications

If you would like to voice your opinion during this consideration period you can do so during the month of September. Comments can be submitted via mail, fax, or online.

How might this change benefit consumers?

If the NHTSA’s proposed changes for how recall notifications are sent to consumers is accepted, there could be serious benefits for vehicle owners. As the law currently stands, many consumers are left in the dark when their vehicle is unsafe.

If a car owner moves to a new home after buying a vehicle and fails to update their address with the manufacturer they may never receive notification. Even when the manufacturer has the correct address, mail may not be the timeliest way to communicate.

By requiring additional recall notification attempts, car owners will be in the best position to learn about potential safety issues with their cars. In the long run, these changes could lead to a significant increase in the number of cars repaired after an issue is discovered. This could be the difference between life and death for many American drivers and their families. Jason Schultz cares about your safety, call him for help if a defect caused an accident (404) 474-0804.

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