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A new app for federal safety ratings

The phrase "there's an app for that" has not only become a key marketing slogan for smartphones, it has created an entirely new way to share information. Consumers can check the status of flights, purchase movie tickets and even find the cheapest gas using smartphone applications.

With the proliferation of such "apps", it is not surprising that more entities (including the federal government) are producing programs to help consumers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released its SaferCar app for Iphones and Ipads. Through this program, consumers can research and find a host of safety information, including crash safety ratings, recalls, and complaints about vehicle safety issues. The app will also enable consumers to find convenient locations to install child safety seats.

Moreover, consumers can use the app to register complaints in a more efficient manner. NHTSA chief David Strickland explained to USA Today that the new app is important in allowing people to have the latest safety information at their fingertips. In turn, the NHTSA can respond to (and analyze) complaints more efficiently as well.

This ability will be increasingly important as the NHTSA relies more on consumer complaints in determining whether to issue recalls. In a prior post, we noted how the agency was considering an expansion on the recall of GM vehicles due to brake light malfunctions. It examined more than 100 complaints while making its determination.

In the meantime, Android users may feel slighted, as a version of the app to run this platform is still in development.

Source: USA Today, Feds offer car safety app for recalls, ratings, March 21, 2013

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