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New Mandatory Label to Help Owners Instantly Identify Recall Mailings

Spohrer Dodd

At some point, nearly everyone receives one in the mail. And, truth be known, most ignore them. Now, the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants to help make sure that when an automotive recall notice shows up in your mailbox, you know exactly what it is and take it seriously.

NHTSA recently mandated that all auto manufacturers use a distinctive label on mailings that notify registered owners of recalled vehicles and equipment. The labels feature a bright red bar with the words “important safety recall information” printed in bold, capital white letters. Below are the words “issued in accordance with federal law” in black, with the US DOT and NHTSA logos on either side.

The aim is to help recipients better distinguish notices with critical safety information from the plethora of direct mail advertisements, political notices and other assorted junk mail that arrives in our mail each day. This will help boost the chances that vehicle owners will act on recalls, avoiding safety risks.

“Recalls only work if consumers are aware of them,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This new label will allow consumers to quickly recognize recall notices mailed to their homes so they can act quickly to get their vehicles, child restraints, tires, or other motor vehicle equipment fixed.”

Of course, it’s not uncommon for companies to send mailings that mimic governmental notices in an effort to persuade recipients to purchase pricey products and services that are not connected to legitimate safety recalls. To help thwart such efforts, NHTSA has strictly limited the label’s use to manufacturers issuing recalls and have committed to working with various state and federal authorities, including the Federal Trade Commission, to monitor postal services for bogus, misleading or otherwise inappropriate materials.

NHTSA also recognizes that today’s car buyers are largely digitally connected. So, the administration also recently launched the new Android SaferCar app, which helps consumers to easily search and quickly find important recall and safety information about vehicles they own or are considering buying, and on related items like tires and child safety seats (Note that you’ll need to register your tires and child car seats with the manufacturer or NHTSA). SaferCar apps for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch were released last year.

If you receive a recall notice, auto accident and product liability attorneys with Spohrer & Dodd urge you to take it seriously. Your family’s safety and perhaps their very lives may depend on it.