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Maryland on FAST Track to Providing Vehicle Recall Information

By: Ryan Gallagher November 20, 2017
With a large federal grant, Maryland transportation officials plan to aggressively reach out to drivers who may own a recalled vehicle to be sure they get the needed repairs.

Beginning April 2018, Maryland car owners and lessees will receive recall information specific to their vehicle tucked in with registration renewal documents from the MVA. Additionally, the agency will send vehicle recall e-mail notifications for drivers who have signed up for electronic registration reminders.

The upcoming notification system was crafted in hopes of decreasing the number of unrepaired recalled vehicles on the road.

“As many as three out of every 10 recalled vehicles have not been repaired,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. “Recalls are serious. Recall repairs are completely free to the consumer.”

Maryland’s MVA was awarded a federal grant of $222,300 to ensure important vehicle recall information reaches impacted drivers. The new effort is called the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, and was spearheaded by the United States Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 

“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 . . . with potentially life-saving information about their vehicles,” Chao said.

In 2015, Congress approved FAST Act funding for six states, though Maryland was the only state to apply. To ensure drivers are getting the latest recall information, the MVA will partner with Cox Automotive Inc., a provider of industry-leading digital marketing, financial, retail, and wholesale solutions across the automotive industry.

“Our state is proud to pilot this important initiative that will protect our citizens and make our roadways safer,” said Governor Larry Hogan after he learned Maryland would be the grant recipient.

While the FAST Act would improve the chances of drivers knowing about vehicle recalls, it doesn’t guarantee repairs would follow. When asked why they skip recall repairs, American motorists responded with a mixture of not wanting to be without their vehicle, impatience at waiting for the repairs to be done, and worry that the dealership would try to perform additional repairs for profit, according to a study from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

“We encourage customers to take advantage of the safety recall information and address them as quickly as possible,” said MDOT MVA Administrator Christine Nizer.

The program will run for two years, and Maryland’s MVA will report the project’s effectiveness back to the NHTSA. Until the program begins next spring, drivers in Maryland and beyond can check for recall information on the NHTSA website.

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