The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that starting Feb. 18, all manufacturers must use a distinctive label on required mailings that notify owners of recalled vehicles or equipment.

The agency, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, introduced the requirement so that vehicle owners could readily identify recall notices in their mailboxes and avoid mistakenly discarding them.

"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 also help protect consumers from misleading sales and marketing materials that mimic, in their wording and presentation, legitimate safety recall alerts, NHTSA said.

“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 agency said in a released statement. “The new label on safety recall notices is one of many new tools designed to improve recall notification for consumers.”

NHTSA also launched an app for Android devices that provides free access to key safety information, including recalls and safety performance. The new Android SaferCar app helps vehicle owners find recall and safety information, search the agency's 5-Star safety ratings by vehicle make and model, and subscribe to automatic notices about vehicle recalls, among other features.

This new app joins the iOS app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch released last year.

Using the app, vehicle owners can also easily submit complaints to NHTSA regarding possible safety problems with a particular vehicle. App users receive  news and information on tire and child seat recalls as well.

"NHTSA plays an important role in investigating potential safety defects, overseeing all safety recalls and warning the public of potential safety issues involving vehicles, car seats, tires and other equipment," said NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman. "By providing new and convenient tools for consumers, we hope to empower owners to take action to ensure their vehicles and loved ones are safe."

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet