NHTSA Mandates Special Labels For Recall Mailings

Recognizing that many consumers automatically dump out unexpected envelopes received in the mail, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a new plan to get car owners to pay attention vehicle recalls. As of February 18, all federally required vehicle recall notices will come with the warning label pictured above.

"Recalls only work if consumers are aware of them," U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. "This new label will allow consumers to quickly recognize recall notices mailed to their homes."

Because NHTSA will restrict the use of the label only to automakers issuing recalls, customers are unlikely to receive fake notices with the graphics from third-party advertisers. Using the label is supposed to help consumers easily identify genuine recall notices, so they don't assume they are junk mail and discard them. Restricting the sticker's use to automakers should also prevent unscrupulous marketers from touting their services as part of a car recall campaign. According to The New York Times, NHTSA issued 632 separate recalls for a total of 22 million vehicles in 2013.

NHTSA also today launched an Android smartphone app that will let buyers and owners search to see whether their car -- or a car they want to purchase -- has been recalled, and to see the crash-test ratings of various cars. The so-called SaferCar app is free in the Google Play store. Last year, NHTSA launched a version of the app for the Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

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