The NHTSA Might Go Digital On Recall Notices to Speed Up Repair Progress

Recall campaigns are just the tip of the iceberg

With recalls increasing both in frequency and volume over the past couple of years, the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) is looking at modern ways of notifying owners.

In addition to first-class mail, automakers could let buyers know about possible recall campaigns through emails, text messages, and even social media platforms.

The initiative generated feedback from carmakers and automotive industry players alike. So far, email and text messages are seen as a must, mainly because both channels facilitate delivery receipts.

However, according to the proposal posted on the Federal Register website, the shortlist of implied communication paths could be stretched to "radio, television, internet, and social media." Furthermore, the document suggests "that manufacturers use direct-to-vehicle communications to notify owners." 

GM was one of the companies supporting the idea of a social media notification system, claiming that "it has used robo-calls, live calls, in-vehicle calls, and social media to reach out to its owners."

Nonetheless, while Tesla officials agreed that the electronic notification is instantaneous and thus, very efficient, they also suggested this solution "should be supplemental to the current first-class mail standard."

For the sake of the bigger picture, in the United States alone, 51 million vehicles were involved in a recall last year, according to Automotive News.

But that's not the most worrying aspect. According to the same media outlet citing J.D. Powers and Associates, around 45 million cars recalled between 2013 and 2015 haven't been repaired as of last month.

Of course, there are many factors at play. For example, privacy concerns can not go unnoticed and for the time being, there is no particular way to connect social media outreach to VINs. 

Even more, who can guarantee that owners won't treat emails from manufacturers as junk or spam?