Federal safety regulators have unveiled an iPhone app that allows people to get safety ratings and recall information for vehicles they own or are thinking of buying.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration SaferCar app will let users search its 5-Star Safety Ratings for vehicles by make and model, locate car seat installation help, file a vehicle safety complaint, find recall information and subscribe to automatic notices about vehicle recalls. It also works on Apple's iPads and iPods.
"Safety is our highest priority, and we’re always working to find new and better ways for people to access SaferCar, one of the most popular programs on our website," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Thursday. “This app takes advantage of the latest technology to ensure that consumers have the real-time information they need to buy safe, drive safe and stay safe.”
NHTSA will also give developers real-time access to the data that powers this app through a special interface. This will allow developers to integrate the data into new and existing apps, which the agency believes will give consumers better access to safety information.
“Timely, accurate, and accessible safety data is the lifeblood of our agency’s work,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.
Automakers also keep close tabs on the safety ratings and like to use good test results in their advertising campaigns.
Mercedes-Benz, for example, announced Thursday that its C-Class sport sedan line and its M-Class sport utility sibling earned five-star ratings.