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D.O.T. Unveils New Online Search Tool for Recalls Using Vehicle Identification Number

Each year, millions of vehicles are recalled in the United States because of safety defects or noncompliance with federal safety standards. To assist car buyers, owners and renters in figuring out whether their vehicles are safe and there are no outstanding safety defects, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) created a new, free, online search tool which consumers can now use to find out if a vehicle is directly impacted by a recall.

The new tool is available on www.safercar.gov/vinlookup and provides consumers with a quick and easy way to identify uncompleted recalls by entering their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). All major vehicle and motorcycle brands may be searched.

Effective this week, under the new NHTSA mandate, all major light vehicle and motorcycle manufacturers are required to provide VIN search capability for uncompleted recalls on their own websites. This data must be updated at least weekly, according to NHTSA’s press release. NHTSA’s new VIN look-up tool directly relies on information from all major automakers, and regularly updated information from the automakers is critical to the efficiency of the search tool.

According to the NHTSA’s website: Consumers are able to find their vehicle identification number by looking at the dashboard on the driver’s side of the vehicle, or on the driver’s side door where the door latches when it is closed. Determining whether there is a recall that consumers need to fix is simple-after entering the VIN number into the field, results will appear if the consumer has an open recall on their vehicle, and if there are none, owners will see “No Open Recalls.”

NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman, said “Just as every single automaker should never hesitate to recall a defective vehicle, consumers should never hesitate to get their recalled vehicle fixed.”

The goal of the NHTSA’s new online search tool is to help customers make informed decisions about the cars they are buying and to further aid the watchdog’s mission to increase public safety.

Unfortunately while this is a great resource for consumers, the fact remains that our society is still impacted by faulty products that can harm our safety. Most recently, Hyundai was cited more than $17 million for failing to disclose a problem with one of its car model’s brake systems. Automakers are responsible, like all products manufacturers for ensuring that their cars are safe to drive and do not pose a threat to the safety of consumers. Those who have been injured as the result of a faulty car, may be entitled to monetary compensation through a products liability claim.

At Altman & Altman LLP, our seasoned Products Liability Attorneys have nearly 50 years of knowledge and experience handling all types of defective products and products liability cases, and we have the skills to fight against large consumer products companies so that our clients achieve the highest financial compensation for their injuries. If you or a loved one was a victim of the GM recalled ignition switch, or if you were injured as the result of a faulty product, call our office today to speak to an attorney to discuss your legal options and whether you might qualify for a products liability claim. All initial consultations are completely free of charge and of no obligation to you. Our team of lawyers is available around the clock to answer any and all questions you may have about your case.