ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland has launched a pilot program that uses the vehicle registration process to alert car owners of recalls involving their vehicle.
“Maryland is the only state to be providing this information to its customers, and we are proud to be leading that charge,” said Jim Ports, deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation.
Since Maryland has the vehicle identification numbers of all the cars registered in the state, it will run those numbers through a recall database before sending out renewal notices. If a recall is found for a vehicle, car owners will be notified with their vehicle registration reminders.
The program is funded by a $222,300 grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The push to get more drivers to make recall repairs comes after NHTSA found that nationwide, 1 in 3 cars on the road have unfixed recalls.
“That’s serious if you think about it; it’s a threat to vehicle owners, passengers and others on the road,” said NHTSA Chief Counsel Jonathan Morrison.
During the launch of the program at a Motor Vehicle Administration service center in Annapolis, Morrison said Maryland should be congratulated for stepping up on this issue.
Car manufacturers routinely notify car owners of recalls, but due to owners moving or cars being resold, those alerts never reach the car’s current owner in some cases.
“The good thing is the Motor Vehicle Administration has addresses and contact information for every Maryland resident, so we want to use that information to get that important safety recall to our drivers,” said MVA Administrator Christine Nizer.
Having an open recall on a vehicle won’t stop a driver from renewing their registration. Ports said the hope is sending an official notice about a recall from the state will result in more car owners taking their vehicles to service departments around the state.
“These recalls are fixed for free, so you can’t beat the price,” Ports said.