US auto safety agency wants you to complain more

DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. government wants more people to complain about auto safety problems.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is proposing a rule requiring automakers put labels on sun visors of all new vehicles with instructions on how to file safety complaints.

The labels would be glued to passenger visors and tell people that complaints could bring an investigation or a possible recall.

The agency uses consumer complaints to spot safety problems. If NHTSA workers spot a trend in the complaints, the agency investigates and can pressure automakers into doing recalls.

But in 2015, the agency’s director said it didn’t have enough people to thoroughly analyze the 75,000 complaints that came in, but since then NHTSA has received added funding and hired more personnel.

The labels were required by Congress in 2012. They instruct people to contact NHTSA with safety issues at http://www.safercar.gov , by phone at (888) 327-4236 or by mail at U.S. Department of Transportation, NHTSA, Office of Defects Investigation, NEF-100, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20077-9382.

The agency will take comments on the proposal until Jan. 27. The regulation process can take years to complete, so it likely will be a long time before labels are required.

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This story has been corrected to show that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received additional funding and hired additional people to check consumer complaints.