In April 2018, MDOT MVA became the first state in the nation to launch a vehicle safety recall program, using regular registration renewal notices to also inform Maryland drivers of potentially lifesaving vehicle safety recalls. The program, which ran from April 2018 to April 2020, was made possible through a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) grant. Though the pilot ended in April, MDOT MVA will continue the recall notification program indefinitely.
“Maryland is committed to eliminating fatalities and injuries on our roadways, and each one of these remedied recalls reduces the risk of a crash,” said MDOT MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer. “The MDOT MVA notification process informs vehicle owners of safety defects on their vehicle they may be unaware of, and encourages owners to resolve them.”
The pilot program was designed to test the effectiveness of using a state process to notify customers of open vehicle safety recalls as part of the vehicle registration renewal process. The idea was to see if vehicle owners would be more likely to address a recall notice if it came from a trusted source – such as a motor vehicle administration. In the program, MDOT MVA partnered with Cox Automotive Inc. to identify open vehicle safety recall information. MDOT MVA printed the information on the regular registration renewal notices sent via mail and email about 60 days before a registration period ends.
“Notifying Marylanders about safety recalls as part of the registration renewal process is an extension of MDOT MVA’s mission to make our roadways safer for everyone,” said MDOT Secretary Greg Slater. “This ongoing partnership between MDOT, NHTSA and the private sector will save lives.”
Over the course of the two-year program:
- MDOT MVA provided registration renewal notices for 4,295,324 vehicles, and among them identified 1,018,214 individual vehicle safety recalls. By the end of the pilot, 376,768 vehicle recalls had been remedied, or roughly 37%.
- A total of 488,233 vehicles had at least one outstanding recall. Of those, more than 70% had one open recall; the remainder had multiple recalls.
- Of the recalls remedied, 47.8% were at least two years old, indicating the program was effective in reaching older recalls whose owners may have been unaware of the recall status.
- Airbags were the most frequently remedied component, accounting for 27.8% of recalls, followed by seat belts at 27.6% and electrical systems at 24.9%.
- Sedans and trucks/SUVs accounted for the majority of vehicles that contained recalls. Based on the numbers of recall items that were remedied, these two categories had “remedy rates” of 42.1% and 33.9%, respectively.
- Howard and Harford counties had the highest remedy rate in the state with 42.3%, followed by Montgomery County with 41.8%, Frederick County with 40.3% and Baltimore County with 39.1%.
MDOT MVA will continue to notify customers of open safety recalls in their registration renewal notices. Customers also can check a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for open recalls by contacting their authorized dealership or using the VIN look-up tool on the NHTSA website www.nhtsa.gov.