U.S. Drivers Need Better Information on Recalls, GAO Says

The U.S. auto-safety regulator should better inform drivers of defects because only 70 percent of recall repairs on cars and trucks are completed within 18 months, the Government Accountability Office said.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should change what consumers must be told in recall notification letters, improve and publicize its auto-recall website and seek authority to notify used-car buyers, the GAO said in a report today. In 2010, automakers recalled a record 14.9 million vehicles.

“Many recalled vehicles are never fixed, posing a risk to vehicle operators, other drivers, and pedestrians,” the GAO said in the report, which was requested by Representatives Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, and Edolphus Towns, a New York Democrat.

Toyota Motor Corp. (7203)’s record recalls last year for defects related to unintended acceleration were investigated by U.S. lawmakers.

“NHTSA is committed to ensuring consumers have the information they need to keep their families safe on the road and in their communities,” NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said in an e-mailed statement. “We look forward to working with policymakers to continue to strengthen our efforts on these and other safety issues.”

Consumers can sign up for e-mailed alerts about vehicle recalls from NHTSA at http://www.safercar.gov.

To contact the reporter on this story: Angela Greiling Keane in Washington at agreilingkea@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernie Kohn at bkohn2@bloomberg.net.

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