Federal safety regulators want car owners to pay attention to recall notices that arrive in the mail. They say too many of the notices are being ignored when they arrive in piles of other mail.

So the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has decreed that starting February 18, all manufacturers must use a distinctive label on the required mailings that notify owners of recalled vehicles or equipment.

"Recalls only work if consumers are aware of them," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "This new label will allow consumers to quickly recognize recall notices mailed to their homes so they can act quickly to get their vehicles, child restraints, tires, or other motor vehicle equipment fixed."

The use of the new label is strictly limited to only the recalling manufacturers. This measure will help protect consumers from misleading sales and marketing materials that mimic, in their wording and presentation, legitimate safety recall alerts from manufacturers that can lead owners to purchase costly products and services that have no connection to a legitimate safety recall.

As always, NHTSA will monitor for inappropriate materials and will work closely with state and other federal authorities, including the FTC, to address enforcement issues.

The new label on safety recall notices is one of many new tools designed to improve recall notification for consumers.

New Android app

NHTSA also launched an app for Android devices that will provide users free access to key safety information, including recalls and safety performance. The new Android SaferCar app, which joins the iOS app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch released last year, helps consumers find recall information and up-to-date vehicle safety information, search the agency's 5-Star Safety Ratings for vehicles by make and model, and subscribe to automatic notices about vehicle recalls, among other features.

The app also makes it simple to submit complaints to NHTSA regarding possible safety problems with a particular vehicle. App users receive important news and information from NHTSA on tire and child seat recalls as well.

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