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Auto Recalls: NHTSA Pilot Program to Notify Maryland Owners of an Open Recall

Alarmed by the number of automotive recalls left uncompleted by owners, NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Association) is funding a pilot program to notify Maryland owners of vehicles with an outstanding recall at the time they register their car or truck. The 2-year experiment will begin in 2018, according to a story in The Baltimore Sun.

On average, only about two-thirds of all recalled vehicles receive the needed free repairs. The reason for the remaining one-third to go unresolved includes some drivers never being notified, either because the notices went unopened, or the carmaker involved couldn’t locate them.

Expected to cover all the costs of the pilot program in Maryland, the $220,000 grant provides for alerting owners to recalls specific to their vehicles both when registering a car for the first time or renewing their registrations. A recall notice will also accompany any registration-renewal reminders the state sends owners. The program will apply to leased vehicles as well, according to The Baltimore Sun.

Shining a light on the recall noncompliance issue is the huge Takata airbag recall involving as many as one-third of all registered vehicles. As of June, more than 65 percent of the 46.2 million affected by that recall remained unrepaired.

Part of the $305 billion 2015 U.S. Department of Transportation budget, the trial program is open to as many as six states. To date, Maryland is the only state to accept the funds and initiate the program.

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