NHTSA Mandates Label to Distinguish Recalls From Junk Mail

Cleverly designed credit-card solicitations and other junk mail can sometimes make it difficult to distinguish between what should make it to the kitchen counter and what goes straight to the recycling bin. Realizing this, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced this week that as of Feb. 18, all manufacturers must use a new label to help people instantly recognize a recall notice in the mail.

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"Recalls only work if consumers are aware of them," U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Fox said in a statement. "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."

The use of the new label will be strictly limited to manufacturers issuing a recall. NHTSA will be on the lookout for inappropriate materials that copy the new look and work with authorities to address infractions. "This measure will help protect consumers from misleading sales and marketing materials that mimic, in their wording and presentation, legitimate safety recall alerts from manufacturers that can lead owners to purchase costly products and services that have no connection to a legitimate safety recall," NHTSA stated.

Also this week, NHTSA launched an app for Android devices that provides users free access to up-to-date safety info, including recalls and safety performance. Users can search by vehicle make and model for the agency's five-star safety ratings and subscribe to automatic recall notices. The Android SaferCar app joins the existing iOS version for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.