WASHINGTON (July 19, 2011)—The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration needs to make several changes to vehicle and tire safety defect recall campaigns to make sure they are as effective as possible, the U.S. Government Accountability Office told NHTSA in a recent report.
“NHTSA faces challenges that may affect recall completion rates,” the GAO said in making four specific recommendations to improve consumer response to recall notices. The recommendations include:
—Modifying defect notification letters to include the word “URGENT” in large type and also ensure the inclusion of vehicle identification numbers;
—Creating a VIN search function on NHTSA's safety website, www.safercar.gov, and publicize the website to the public;
—Developing a plan to analyze particular trends and patterns in recall campaigns to determine possible best practices for recalls; and
—Seeking legislative authority to notify potential used car buyers of any outstanding recalls before the sale.
GAO said it provided a draft of the report not only to the U.S. Department of Transportation but also the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Agriculture and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. DOT agreed to consider the report's recommendations, and both DOT and USDA provided technical comments on the draft that were incorporated as appropriate in the final report, GAO said.