I want you to go to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Website (NHTSA) ( http://www.safercar.gov/) and then surf over to the equivalent Transport Canada site ( http://www.tc.gc.ca).
Without a doubt, the U.S. site is far superior to what we have for consumers in Canada. In particular, the NHTSA site is loaded with detailed information about safety recalls, defect investigations, safety complaints and technical service bulletins. If it's a buyer beware world, the NHTSA site helps to make shoppers more aware.
By contrast, Transport Canada's site is dangerously close to being a joke. It is simply inadequate - thin on easily accessible information.
And if this Canadian site is a black amusement, what should we make of a U.S. Government Accountability Office study that says the NHTSA, the U.S. auto-safety regulator, should better inform drivers of defects than it already does. The reports says only 70 per cent of recall repairs on cars and trucks are completed within 18 months in the U.S., blaming this on NHTSA's poor work in information sharing.
As Bloomberg reports, the GAO said in a report issued Wednesday that NHTSA should change what consumers must be told in recall notification letters, improve and publicize its auto-recall website and seek authority to notify used-car buyers. In 2010, U.S. auto makers recalled a record 14.9 million vehicles and a proportionally similar number were recalled in Canada.
Do you know if your car was recalled? Have you had any help from our own Canadian safety regulators? My bet is no.
"Many recalled vehicles are never fixed, posing a risk to vehicle operators, other drivers, and pedestrians," the GAO said in the report.
We can assume the same holds true for Canada. Given NHTSA is under fire, don't you think it's time our own federal regulators did a better job?