Transportation Committee LogoIn this time of unprecedented recalls on auto parts, the government is taking a step to not only curtail an expansion of the federal government, but also improve the safety to working class Americans. The U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, with the support of the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA), called on automakers to provide industry partners with information on recalled parts.

In a hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation Committee, Secretary Foxx explained that making this information available themselves would negate the need for “a new government program to collect and distribute this information.”

Announcement by Secretary Foxx

Although there is nothing binding about this announcement by Secretary Foxx, the tone he set could spell a big win for the American public. For one thing, any action that can be performed without government intervention means lower taxes, or in this case, a decreased chance of higher taxes in the future. If auto recyclers have ready access to this information from auto manufacturers, they can efficiently determine if any parts they receive are subject to a recall and take proper action. In turn, American consumers that rely on auto recyclers to obtain quality replacement parts at a lower cost can be better protected from potential safety issues.

Without the cooperation of automakers, the availability of this information could only be made available through a new government program. This is clearly a less than ideal situation. The next step in making information on parts used in the supply chain of automobile manufacturing available to auto recyclers is to attain the cooperation of the automakers themselves.

ARA’s Role

The ARA has made it evident that obtaining this information is a priority for the auto recycling industry. The ARA has initiated over one hundred meetings over the last four years with everybody from government officials to auto manufacturers around the world, explaining the importance of obtaining OEM parts data to determine if safety recall campaigns effect any of the parts on the vehicles they receive.

The ARA works tirelessly on behalf of auto recyclers across the country. Its membership and affiliated organizations include 4,500 professional automotive recycling facilities. While automakers may have their own interest in minds by preventing access to OEM parts data, they are also preventing the removal of faulty parts from the market, which creates a greater potential for injury to working class people, who are more likely to rely on auto recyclers to obtain replacement parts for their vehicles.

An effective parts lookup system would look something like this: the auto recycler could simply enter the VIN of a vehicle they received, and be able to see at a glance not only the supplier of all the parts originally installed on the vehicle, but also if any of these parts have ever been subject to a recall. A system of this nature would inevitably be a positive step for the American public.