MARYLAND AWARDED FEDERAL FAST ACT GRANT OF $222,300 TO HELP LIFE-SAVING RECALL MESSAGES REACH MORE VEHICLE OWNERS
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today announced they have awarded a grant to the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration to help reach more consumers with the critical message of repairing open recalls on their vehicles.
On average, only 70 percent of vehicles recalled are repaired. Improving recall remedy rates is a priority for NHTSA, especially in light of the Takata airbag recall, which includes as many as one-third of vehicles nationwide, making it the largest and most complex recall in automotive history. While NHTSA remains engaged in an aggressive campaign 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.
“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. “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.”
The $222,300 award to Maryland is a part of a two-year pilot grant program to test the feasibility of providing open recall information to consumers at the time of vehicle registration. The pilot program does not replace the vehicle manufacturer’s obligation to alert consumers of recalls on their vehicles and to provide a remedy free of charge.
“Maryland is proud to pilot this important initiative to protect our citizens and make our roadways safer,” said Governor Hogan. “The safety and security of Marylanders is our top priority, and this program will allow us to alert vehicle owners to potentially dangerous safety recalls.”
As part of the pilot program, Maryland has agreed to determine open recalls on all the motor vehicles registered by the state and to notify owners and lessees of the open recalls at the time of registration at no charge. Maryland will also provide owners and lessees with a brief description of the defect, the nature of the recall, and inform the owner or lessee that the remedy should be obtained immediately at the manufacturer’s authorized dealer. At the end of the two-year performance period, the state will provide an evaluation of the notification program.
Consumers can check their VIN for open recalls at any time by contacting their vehicle manufacturer or by using the VIN look-up tool at www.nhtsa.gov.