Missed vehicle recalls top 4 million in Florida

Checktoprotect.org provides free recall updates

By Mike Holfeld - Investigative Reporter

The National Safety Council reports more than 4 million vehicles have unchecked or “open” recalls in Florida, making the Sunshine State the third-highest in the nation for mechanical or electronic issues that haven’t been fixed.

Now an online system called Checktoprotect.org provides an easy-to-use option for checking your vehicle’s recall report card Kristin Kreibich, a safety advocate at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, told WKMG News 6 most consumers don’t realize the free site is available.

The website uses the vehicle make and model year or the 17-number vehicle identification number, or VIN, to track recall history for vehicles based on data from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration.

“We want to get them in the habit of checking their vehicle for open recalls just as they would check their oil or tire pressure, Kreibich told News 6.

According to the NHTSA, there are currently more than one in four, or 53 million, vehicles with an open recall in the United States, posing a potential risk for drivers in Florida and across the United States.

According to Kreibich, checking open recalls is “particularly urgent” because 2016 saw the “sharpest increase in motor vehicle fatalities in more than 50 years.”

If a vehicle has an open recall, a driver can get it repaired at a local authorized dealership. A VIN is located on the driver’s side of the car, on the dashboard by the windshield as well as on the side of the door. It is also often included in insurance documents and your car registration.

“Usually it’s pretty quick and pretty easy,” Kreibich said, “depending on availability of parts, the dealer’s schedule and how busy it is, but we make every effort to get people in as soon as possible.”

“Vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death in the United States,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “When vehicles are in top form, they reduce critical risks. Unfortunately, too many drivers are complacent when it comes to recalls, or they are unsure whether their car is subject to one. Check To Protect should help close that knowledge gap and, by extension, make our roads safer.”

The problem is worse among drivers of older or used vehicles. They are less likely to have their recalls repaired, as they are less likely to use authorized dealerships for maintenance and repairs, and they may not receive recall notifications through the traditional systems if they did not purchase their vehicles from a dealership.

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