Hats off to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency has just made it easier for people to get important safety information about child seats and tires. Consumers can now sign up with NHTSA to receive automatic e-mail alerts when there’s a government recall of tires or safety seats.
Before introduction of the alert system, consumers had to rely on press reports or a notice from a manufacturer to learn about recalls and they only got the latter if they filled in and then mailed the registration card when buying a car seat or tire. Sadly, recall completion numbers indicate that this is usually not the case. Fewer than one-third of affected consumers respond to tire recalls, while less than half of affected consumers respond to child seat recalls. By contrast, 70 percent of vehicle recalls are completed, says NHTSA spokeswoman Elly Martin, because owners names are on record.
To sign up for the electronic recall notice, simply visit www.safercar.gov. You will be sent all tire and car seat recalls, but there are not so many that they will clutter your in-box—about 20 tire recalls and eight child restraint system recalls a year.
Safercar.gov has also added a feature to make it easier for consumers to register car seats directly with manufacturers. It’s a service we encourage all care-givers to use.
And in further good news, NHTSA’s Martin says the agency plans to extend the automatic e-mail notification service to passenger-car recalls in the future. Hear. Hear.