NHTSA app aims to ease consumers' access to safety info
Federal regulators are offering a free app for iPhones and iPods that provides the latest vehicle safety information to consumers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's SaferCar.gov Web site.
The SaferCar app lets users file vehicle safety complaints, subscribe to automatic notices for vehicle recalls and search for vehicles by make and model using information from SaferCar.gov.
The app also provides consumers with directions to the nearest car seat installation site, the agency said in a statement today.
NHTSA Administrator David Strickland, in a phone interview, said the customizable app is part of the agency's efforts to help "consumers make their families safer."
Strickland said the app uses RSS and e-mail notifications to alert drivers when they will receive a notice that their vehicle is subject to recall.
The app also acts as a bar code scanner for vehicle identification numbers.
"If you have a complaint [about your vehicle] you can scan it and then that way it will help fill out the rest [of the forms] when you're writing the complaint," Strickland said.
This year, the agency updated its Web site in an effort to let consumers quickly find information on safety defect investigations, complaints and recalls.
The SaferCar app is available from Apple's iTunes Store. A version of the app is being developed for use on Android devices, NHTSA said.
"There are a number of things we are hoping to develop. We are always looking to evolve and add other features." Strickland said.
The app launch coincides with the release of NHTSA's Application Programming Interface that will give software developers more access to safety data for analysis and for use in consumer-friendly Web and mobile apps.
NHTSA said it intends to release online lessons on how to use the Application Programming Interface.