Automated license plate recognition (ALPR) system offers expedited alternative to delayed manufacturer contact rates for safety recalls that put drivers at risk
FORT WORTH, TX – May 09, 2018 – Millions of drivers can be affected when their vehicles are impacted by extensive vehicle safety recalls, and yet many recall notices are sent to the wrong addresses putting drivers at risk. Digital Recognition Network (DRN), a vehicle data location and analytics firm for auto lenders, insurance carriers and other commercial verticals, announced today it is leveraging its automated license plate recognition (ALPR) technology for U.S. automakers with vehicles impacted by safety recalls for critical components such as airbags, fuel systems, and steering.
The widely reported and massive Takata airbag recall, which began in 2008 and continues today, has impacted 33 million vehicles among 34 brands in the U.S. But in this case, as well as with others, automakers have struggled to notify owners of the recall so that they can be repaired. Ten years after the recall began, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says “[t]ens of millions” of vehicles are still in operation with defective airbags. In fact, NHTSA recently issued a second plea asking owners of MY 2006 Ford Rangers and Mazda B-Series trucks to have their vehicles repaired. Unfortunately, the current method of notification to these vehicle owners relies on mailing notices to the vehicle registration addresses on file with the Department of Motor Vehicles, which are often invalid due to the registered vehicle owner having moved and not subsequently updating their address information with the state Department of Motor Vehicles.
DRN has developed a more effective way to alert vehicle owners when a recall is underway by deploying ALPR. DRN has the ability to take a “hotlist” of vehicles subject to the recall and attach a Notification of Recall directly onto the vehicle when one of DRN’s ALPR-equipped partner vehicles finds a matching license plate. These hotlists can also be made available to police officers, who can verbally advise drivers of the recall if they encounter a recalled vehicle during a traffic stop or other interaction.
“Drivers are often unaware when their vehicle is subject to a very serious safety recall that requires attention, and while manufacturers have ramped up efforts to contact drivers of vehicles impacted by recalls, the message is simply not reaching car owners and people are continuing to die needlessly,” said Todd Hodnett, Executive Chairman and Founder of DRN. “Relying solely on DMV addresses can mean that up to 50 percent of recall notices are delivered to a wrong address, putting drivers – and those they share the road with – at extreme risk. ALPR data takes us straight to the source, making delivery of these notices accurate and efficient. We can also provide photographic proof that a notice was affixed to the windshield of a vehicle that has been pinpointed by ALPR. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has called on automakers to be more creative in their efforts to ensure drivers’ safety and incorporating this technology does just that. In fact, it is a logical extension for automobile manufacturers in the sense that their captive finance divisions have been using ALPR technology to repossess vehicles for years. In this instance, rather than recovering the vehicle we are providing an important public safety function by hopefully preventing the future loss of additional lives. We feel that together with automobile manufacturers that we have a social responsibility to use technology to protect the more socioeconomically vulnerable citizens that are typically driving these older model vehicles.”
Fortune 100 auto lenders and top insurers rely on DRN’s vehicle location data to reach their customers, locate their assets, manage risk and uncover fraud. This same data can be combined with vehicle identification number (VIN) data provided by automakers to contact car owners impacted by urgent recalls. DRN maintains over 7 billion nationwide vehicle sightings with over 250 million captured monthly using ALPR technology.
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