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The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) continues to work to increase the number of automobiles under recall that are actually repaired.

According to a recent press release issued by the administration, only 70 percent of vehicles that are recalled are actually fixed. That number needs to increase, particularly when talking about serious repairs such as those that involve defective Takata airbag inflators, which can explode upon deployment and create life-threatening injuries.

In an effort to do just that, the NHTSA recently awarded a grant to the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration “to help them reach more consumers with the critical message of repairing open recalls on their vehicles.”

Maryland Receives Grant Money to Help Increase Recall Awareness & Repairs

Back in 2015, Congress enacted the “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act,” or FAST Act, to help improve recall rates. The idea was to involve state governments in notifying consumers. The Department of Transportation, of which the NHTSA is a part, is now rolling out a pilot program that involves issuing grants to state governments. These grants are intended to support the development of new methods of alerting vehicle owners of outstanding recalls.

Maryland is the first recipient of one of these grants. The state government, in receiving the money, is now required to develop and provide a way to notify vehicle owners when they have outstanding recalls that have not been repaired, and to give general information about the nature of the recall.

In many instances, owners that have been injured in automobile crashes have stated that they were unaware of outstanding recalls that may have saved them from injury. Regulators hope that by getting state governments involved, they will ensure notification is not the problem.

Maryland to Alert Owners to Recalls Via Vehicle Registration Renewal Notices

The Maryland motor vehicle department announced on October 27, 2017, that they would begin providing owners and lessees recall information in their vehicle registration notices starting in April 2018. The state plans to partner with Cox Automotive Inc. in their efforts to make this happen.

“The vehicle safety recall program is another way MDOT is a leader in the areas of safety and customer service,” Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn said. The state received $222,300 as part of the two-year pilot program.

Vehicle owners can also check their VIN anytime by contacting their authorized dealership, or by looking up the vehicle on the NHTSA website.

Grants Available for Five More States Willing to Increase Safety

The FAST Act provides grants for up to six states total, in return for their commitment to alert vehicle owners to outstanding recalls. Maryland was the first state chosen because it was the only state to apply for the grant so far. The NHTSA hopes that the state will serve as an example to the rest of the country.

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