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Car recalls are at an all-time high, but 30% remain unrepaired

Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

"We felt like it was a good way to be able to provide information to the customer (so they can) hopefully be able to act on it quickly and get it resolved," Nizer said.

Maryland's philosophy on recall information, however, is markedly different from that of Michigan, where Fred Woodhams, a spokesman for the secretary of state's office, focused on who is ultimately responsible.

"We view it as a manufacturer's responsibility to notify owners of a recall and also, at least in the short term, it would be ... burdensomely costly to the department to participate," Woodhams said, acknowledging that the department was aware of the grant program but saying it has no plans to participate. "(Automakers are) the ones that made the car in the first place."

In Maryland, Nizer said the federal grant will pay for the data collection that will be needed. She said there would be no additional costs for notification because the forms that are sent out already exist.

Nizer declined to weigh in on why another state might have decided not to apply for the grant, but she said the program will not absolve anyone of potential responsibility.

"Certainly, the manufacturers have a role to play in recall information and that will continue." Nizer said. "We are not taking responsibility from the manufacturer."


Ian Grossman, vice president of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, suggested that such differences in philosophy could have something to do with what each office is facing in terms of workload demands.

All state motor vehicle administrators are concerned about the safety impact of vehicle recalls, even the ones that are not currently taking active roles such as in the case of the Maryland effort, said Grossman, noting also that some states may want to see the results of the Maryland program before starting their own.

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