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Are You Driving a Recalled Car? Find Out!

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RecallKnowing that the car you drive has been recalled is a vital piece of information to any driver. Last year, Toyota was subject to the biggest recall in automotive history. A recall that Daniel Patrascu, a writer for AutoEvolution, reports has spurred the launch of several new Quality Assurance Offices, including one projected to open soon in Denver.

Ford is having it’s share of recalled vehicles, too. Mark Bello, a contributor to the Injury Board Blog Network, notes the issues the company is having already in 2011:

In less than 2 months into 2011, Ford has already recalled more than 900,000 vehicles; that is roughly 600,000 more vehicles recalled in all of 2010.

Not exactly what you would call inspiring numbers. The interesting part of Bello’s column is this question, posed in response to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s statements about the efficacy of their tightened standards:

I have asked this before, and I will ask it again, if the NHTSA says that new tests are more stringent and designed to encourage auto makers to go beyond the required federal standards, then why are vehicles that are supposed to be safer constantly being recalled for dangerous defects? Why are they coming off the assembly line and going into dealerships with these problems? Auto manufacturers can and should do more to ensure vehicle safety the first time, before the consumer takes possession of the vehicle.

While not all recalls are spurred by injury or death, many of them are. While there is no such thing as a foolproof system, the staggering number of vehicles recalled over the last year or two does bear examination.

In the meantime, how does a person go about keeping up to date on his or her car’s recall status? Here is a pair of online resources to help you do so with as little trouble as possible.

First on the list is Recalls.gov, a website produced by the NHTSA. You can find child seat recalls, auto recalls, school bus recalls, and more. Additionally, it has an email list that you can subscribe to, and you can report a possible defect directly to the NHTSA.

Second on the go-to list is SaferCar.gov. The recalls section of this website not only allows you to search for recalls online, but also allows you to download a database of recalls. There is also a generous helping of explanatory materials about the process of recall — if you are subject to one.

USRecallNews.com is another helpful resource, with press releases and articles on food, drug, product and auto recalls.

An important thing to remember is that no single resource is guaranteed to be complete or accurate, so we recommend checking several sources to help you stay well informed across the board.

Image by me and the sysop (Chelsea Oakes), used under its Creative Commons license.

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