Consumers can now sign up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to receive automatic e-mail alerts when there is a government recall of defective tires or child restraint safety seats. Before this alert system, consumers had to rely on press reports or, if they filled in and then mailed the registration card when buying a tire or car seat, a notice from a manufacturer to learn about recalls.
Recall completion numbers indicate that 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. In addition to registering for e-mail alerts, consumers can have the latest tire and/or child restraint recalls automatically delivered to your personalized homepage. The NHTSA uses RSS or Really Simple Syndication to deliver the up-to-date information. Many newspapers and websites use RSS as a way of continually keeping users abreast of breaking news. Since 2002, NHTSA receives on average 20 tire recalls per year and 8 child restraint seat recalls per year. To sign up for the electronic recall notice, visit www.safercar.gov.
The NHTSA has a hotline to help promote tire registration and consumer rights: 1-800-424-9393. As a recent example of the benefits of the NHTSA’s direct recall notification system, just last month Cooper Tire & Rubber Company of Findlay, Ohio announced that it is replacing defective tires for the second time in eight months and the third time in recent years.
On March 14, 2008, Cooper Tire voluntarily recalled 48,037 tires due to a sidewall separation problem. The recall covers over 20 different Cooper Tire brands including Cooper Discoverer, Wildcat, and Wild Country. Prior to the advent of NHTSA’s direct recall notification system, the at-risk consumer and his or her family would have to hope that they would read some press release or story about the recall in order to learn of the same, unless they were fortuitous enough to have registered their new tire via the underutilized paper tire registration procedure that NHTSA hopes to modernize with on-line and electronic registration procedures.
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