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Regulators issue new rules for vehicle recalls

Driving a defective vehicle can be very dangerous and can increase the chances of being in a car accident. Automakers are supposed to inform the public when their vehicles may be defective and dangerous to drive. They are also supposed to fix defective parts in their vehicles.

Unfortunately, reports show that many defective vehicles are not being fixed and U.S. regulators are taking action to make automakers change the way they inform customers of recalls and defective vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently ordered automakers to install a tool on their websites that allows vehicle owners to see if their vehicle has any pending recalls or safety issues.

The NHTSA is also changing the way automakers inform customers of defects by making new design standards on the letters they send to customers about vehicle recalls. An example is that the letters that state "urgent safety recall" will now have to be larger and appear in upper-case at the beginning of the letter. Recall letters also must have the envelopes stamped with a U.S. Department of Transportation and NHTSA logos and must also say "an important safety recall notice issued in accordance with federal law." Automakers have one year to comply with the NHTSA changes.

Safety regulators are hoping that these changes will help fix more defective vehicles in the U.S. and keep customers informed about pending recalls on the vehicles they may be driving. The new regulations for automakers is an effort to address the fact that only 70 percent of recalled vehicles in the U.S. are usually repaired.

Not knowing about a vehicle recall or not having the opportunity to have defects fixed can be very dangerous to everyone driving in the U.S. In addition to the new rules automakers will have to comply with during a vehicle recall, vehicle owners can also check a NHTSA website to see if their vehicle is part of a recall.

Source: Automotive News, "NHTSA pushes automakers to publicize recalls," Gabe Nelson, Aug. 19, 2013

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