By US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and US Chief Technology Officer Todd Park
This article is cross-posted on the Office of Science and Technology Policy blog.
This morning, we’re proud to join the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in announcing a “SaferCar” app for iPhones, iPad, and iPod Touch devices. This new app puts the power of NHTSA’s tremendous volume of vehicle safety data, including real-time vehicle safety information from NHTSA’s SaferCar.gov site, at the fingertips of American consumers. NHTSA’s SaferCar app allows users to 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.
As a key partner in the White House Safety Data Initiative, the Department of Transportation (DOT) made a commitment at the Safety Datapalooza last September not only to make car safety data available through an easy-to-use app but also to give developers and entrepreneurs real-time access to the underlying government data through Application Programming Interfaces (API), so they can integrate these data into new and existing apps to further empower consumers. These APIs are now available, and developers can learn more about them at Safety.Data.Gov. NHTSA is also planning to publish an online course that teaches developers how to build safety tools using these APIs.
Millions of Americans already rely on these data to inform their purchasing decisions on popular automobile review sites; with the SaferCar app and others that will follow, they’ll be able to access these data in real-time. That includes:
- 5-Star Safety Ratings: Consumers considering vehicle purchases can look up crash test ratings and compare them across different makes and models.
- Recalls and Complaints: Consumers can register their vehicles to be notified by NHTSA if a safety issue is discovered. The app also makes it simple to submit complaints to NHTSA regarding possible safety problems with a particular vehicle.
- Help Installing Child Seats: Get driving directions to the nearest child seat inspection station and get assistance to properly install car seats and boosters.
- Safety Headlines and Alerts: Receive important news and information from NHTSA, as well as recall notices and push notices on their recorded vehicles.
Unleashing open data in formats that are easy to use in new and innovative ways, while rigorously protecting privacy, has been a priority for the Obama Administration. We applaud the NHTSA team for this latest contribution to the cause of open data and transportation safety!