In its effort to further enhance recall effectiveness, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced the launch of SaferCar, a free smartphone app that will notify drivers of recalls on their vehicles by simply inputting its information. It’s as easy as downloading the app and scanning the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). After the click of a few buttons, you’re all set to receive recall notifications. The app also conveniently allows drivers to add, track, and receive notifications about car equipment such as car seats and tires.
The launch of the app could not have come at a better time as new data from our Second Edition of the 2020 Recall Index shows recall effectiveness rates may be slipping. While this could be attributed to the delays the U.S. Postal Service is experiencing and the fact that there are fewer drivers on the road as a result of COVID-19, there’s always room for improvement – even when it comes to the automotive recall process.
Car owners now receive notification from the NHTSA or automakers through a letter in the mail or must manually check websites for recall information. These methods are effective, but unfortunately, many recalls still go undetected and unrepaired. In fact, according to Consumer Reports, the NHTSA estimates that 40 percent of vehicles with open recalls don’t get repaired. There are several reasons for this, including a possible lag in the arrival of notice as a result of mailing; the potential for some notices to fail to reach some drivers; and the lack of action by drivers who neglect to check on a website if their cars are involved in a recall.
The introduction of the SaferCar app, could fill the gap, support the existing methods, and as a result, help reach more drivers who may be at risk of a life-threatening recall. The app truly has the potential to improve the recall process and be a game-changer for automakers experiencing recalls. Here’s why:
It’s Timely. Arguably the most attractive feature of this app is its ability to notify car owners of a defect as soon as the recall has been announced. It eliminates the delivery process and time and ensures the accurate information is sent to the owner with no delay. When it comes to alerting drivers of potentially deadly defects, time is crucial, and this app alone could save lives.
It’s convenient. The app requires very little effort on the consumer side. After inputting vehicle and product information once, car owners can forget about the app until (and if) they receive a notification of a recall. They no longer have to worry and go out of their way to check the NHTSA website or contact an automaker. This in itself will be motivation for drivers to download the app.
It’s an additional way for the NHTSA and automakers to reach drivers. Combining the SaferCar app with other existing recall notification systems adds redundancy to the process. In the case of recalls, this creates a safeguard so automakers don’t have to rely only on one or the other. As a result, it improves the chances of recall information reaching drivers.
There are many factors and variables that should be considered during a recall to ensure the process is accurate and achieves optimal results. The SaferCar app is an excellent step in the right direction for automakers. It will improve the recall process and allow you to efficiently and effectively reach drivers, potentially mitigating the damage caused to your company’s reputation and sparing you from litigation.