WASHINGTON—The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched a public awareness campaign aimed at improving consumer response to tire and vehicle recalls.
The campaign, titled “Safe Cars Save Lives,” urges consumers to check for open recalls at least twice a year and to get their recalled vehicles fixed as soon as parts are available.
“Safe Cars Save Lives” is part of NHTSA's program to accelerate both safety improvements in vehicles and the effectiveness of safety recalls, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said in a Jan. 21 address at the Washington Auto Show.
“The number we always keep in mind at NHTSA is 32,675,” he said. “That's the number of lives lost on American roads in 2014. We will not be satisfied until every one of those lives is saved.”
The “Safe Cars Save Lives” campaign includes online banner ads illustrating that checking periodically for vehicle and tire recalls saves lives on the highway. The campaign urges motorists to check at least twice a year to see if their cars are involved in a recall, using the free vehicle identification number lookup tool on the NHTSA website.
The campaign uses safety videos to help inform consumers how to check their VINs, how recalls and investigations work, and what they should know in case of a recall.
In 2015, NHTSA announced nearly 900 recalls involving more than 51 million vehicles, according to Rosekind. That beats the record set only the year before, he said.
“Recalls are still a prominent feature of the safety landscape,” he said. “We are helping the industry to shift to preventing safety defects before they occur. But we also have to make sure they get fixed.”
“Safe Cars Save Lives” was designed with an awareness that there is a connection between socioeconomic status and responses to recalls, Rosekind said.
“If you're working two jobs with no time off, you may not make it a priority to take your car in for a recall-related repair,” he said. “Safe Cars Save Lives” will help all motorists understand that getting those repairs keep both them and their families safe, he said.
“Safe Cars Save Lives” is a complement to the agreement Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx made with 18 auto makers Jan. 15, pledging to collaborate on a proactive effort to find and correct safety defects before vehicles are even offered for sale, according to Rosekind.
“Cars have changed more in the last 10 years than they did in the previous 100 years,” he said. “We have all these new technologies. How do we know if something is working correctly?”