NHTSA hopes to talk to dealers about new VIN search rule

NHTSA hopes to talk to dealers about new VIN search rule

National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland said he hopes NHTSA will have the opportunity to talk to dealers about their role in making customers aware of the availability of recall information searchable by VIN in accordance with their responsibility under the agencys new VIN search rule.

Speaking to the Washington Automotive Press Association last week in downtown DC, Strickland observed that every manufacturer wants to take care that all vehicles they sell are safe. Additionally, he said that NHTSA will provide actionable information on safety. The new rule requires automakers to provide consumers with a free online tool that lets them search recall information by VIN, starting August, 14, 2014. Several manufacturers already have such a tool, Strickland pointed out.

NHTSAs safercar.com site will tell consumers not just whether their vehicle has been recalled, but also whether any required repairs have been made. Dealers will play an important role in making consumers aware of the NHTSA site and where the information can be found on the automaker site, said Strickland.

Manufacturers are required to update the site at least once a week and to notify vehicle owners of recalls within 60 days of notifying NHTSA. They will also have to tell NHTSA exactly what type of propulsion system and crash avoidance technologies their vehicles have. NHTSA can use that information to spot defect trends related to particular systems and technologies.

Strickland also commented on the following:

Automated driving: Taking the driver completely out of the loop may not be the best solution. Such that, the driver could be a copilot.

Vehicle-to-vehicle communications: (i.e., The safety pilot project that was recently completed in Ann Arbor, Mich.) Offers tremendous potential to reduce crashes. The success is going to rely on the interface between the vehicle and the driver, which should ensure that the driver acts safely.

Seatbelt interlock systems: He said he hopes the transportation bill can be modified to allow automakers to apply for seat belt interlocks that would ensure every driver and passenger are buckled up.

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