When's the last time you checked to see if your car had been recalled? The National Safety Council and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles want to make doing so a regular part of every car-owner's routine.
It's an important goal. As you might recall, we recently reported on a study from the University of Michigan Sustainable Worldwide Transportation showing that some U.S. motorists were unlikely to get their recalled cars repaired. Among study participants who'd received recall notices by mail, nearly 13 percent hadn't taken in their vehicles for service--some because they didn't see the need, others because they didn't see doing so as a priority.
While 13 percent may not sound like a sizable number, given the onslaught of recalls we've seen over the past several years, it's huge. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, roughly 25 percent of vehicles on the road in the U.S. today have an open recall. That works out to some 53 million cars, trucks and SUVs.
Many of those are older vehicles. A different study carried out by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and Global Automakers revealed that completion rates for recalls of newer vehicles was about 83 percent. Among cars between five and ten years old, however, that number plummeted to just 44 percent.
Today, the NSC and FCA have launched a new initiative to get the attention of those vehicles' owners. Dubbed "Check to Protect", the awareness campaign encourages motorists to visit Checktoprotect.org, where they can look for open recalls using a vehicle identification number or VIN. The VIN is found on the inside of the driver's side door, in the lower left corner of the windshield, and on vehicle's registration paperwork.
If you've never checked your car for recalls, having one go-to website might seem like a groundbreaking development. But in fact, Checktoprotect.org just redirects car owners to NHTSA's existing nationwide database of vehicles under recall. (If you don't have your VIN handy, you can also look for recalls on NHTSA's site using the year, make, and model of your car.)
The innovative part of the NSC/FCA campaign is the easy-to-remember URL. The NSC will launch an advertising campaign next month to boost awareness of the website.
According to NSC's President and CEO, Deborah A.P. Hersman, the goal of the Check to Protect initiative is to make America a safer place to drive: "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."
Our take? From where we sit, nearly anything that gets car owners to have their recalled cars repaired is a good thing. And it's especially nice to see FCA as a lead sponsor--not so long ago, the automaker was accused of dragging its feet on recalls.