Feds Enlist Help of Dealers in Safety Push | Edmunds

Feds Enlist Help of Dealers in Safety Push

NEW YORK — The nation's 17,000-plus auto dealers are being asked to help in the federal government's effort to improve safety behind the wheel.

In a Friday speech at the World Traffic Safety Symposium, National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator Mark Rosekind called on car dealers to help combat drowsy driving and take steps to ensure that recalled vehicles are fixed.

"Could car dealers make sure their customers leave the lot educated not just about the features of their new vehicle, but about how to drive it free of impairment and distraction?" Rosekind said.

Rosekind praised auto dealers and other industry partners for already being involved in "behavioral safety efforts."

NHTSA recently kicked off a new effort to combat drowsy driving. It also seeks to improve the defect recall system so that problems are identified earlier and addressed more quickly.

A Grow America transportation proposal from the Obama administration would require new-car dealers to check for open recalls every time a vehicle is brought in for service and then notify the owner.

"It's a simple step that can take less time than checking the oil," Rosekind said. "And it could save a life. We hope Congress will act on this proposal, but this is a step dealers could take today, without congressional action.

"As you know, new-car dealers are already required to ensure that before they deliver a new vehicle to a customer, that vehicle is free from open recalls. This is a requirement the vast majority of dealers take seriously."

Automakers recalled a record-setting nearly 64 million vehicles in more than 800 campaigns last year. They included highly publicized recalls of GM vehicles for ignition-switch defects and the recalls of millions of vehicles for defective Takata airbags.

Edmunds says: Auto dealers are being groomed to serve on the front lines when it comes to vehicle safety.

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