The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) and Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) are encouraging motorists to check for vehicle recalls during Vehicle Safety Recalls Week, observed March 8th to 12th this year.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2020, there were 886 safety recalls affecting 55 million vehicles and other equipment in the U.S. Unfortunately, approximately 25 percent of vehicle recalls go unrepaired, which puts drivers, passengers and other road users at risk.
“Every recall is important and affects your safety,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI Executive Director. “Make a point to check your vehicle for an open recall at least twice a year. It’s free, takes very little effort and could end up saving your life.”
Checking for vehicle recalls is a quick and easy process. First, find the vehicle’s 17-digit VIN number, which is located on the lower portion of the car’s windshield on the driver’s side. It may also be on the vehicle’s registration or insurance card. Second, enter the VIN number into the search bar at NHTSA.gov/recalls.
Within seconds, drivers will know if the vehicle is subject to an open safety recall. If one exists, motorists should contact a dealer for the vehicle manufacturer to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. All recall repairs are free.
“When Hoosiers receive notice to renew their vehicle registration each year it is the perfect time to also check for open recalls,” said Peter Lacy, Commissioner of the BMV. “Recalls are about more than just your car’s mechanical systems, they also cover tires, car seats and other equipment. Taking care of a recall keeps you and other Hoosiers safe when sharing the road.”
A recall is issued when a manufacturer or NHTSA determines that a vehicle, equipment, car seat, or tire creates an unreasonable safety risk or fails to meet minimum safety standards, according to the federal traffic safety agency’s website. Manufacturers are required to fix the problem by repairing it, replacing it or offering a refund. In rare cases, the manufacturer may repurchase the vehicle altogether.
“If your vehicle has an open recall, don’t ignore it or put it off,” said Robert Duckworth, ICJI Traffic Safety Director. “It’s important to get it fixed immediately. Otherwise, you’re putting yourself and others on the road at risk.”
If you think your vehicle may have a safety-related defect that isn’t part of a current recall, contact NHTSA online or by calling the agency’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236. Even one complaint is enough to trigger a safety recall.