March 8, 2023 - Hundreds of thousands of vehicles on Louisiana roads may be under active safety recalls that could cause the vehicles to break down or cause a crash.

The National Safety Council states that 50 million — or roughly one out of every five — vehicles currently on the road have unrepaired safety recalls. And more than 22% of all registered vehicles in Louisiana fall into that category.

That is why the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission urges everyone to use Daylight Saving Time as an annual reminder to check their vehicles for safety recalls.

“During Vehicle Safety Recalls Week, while you’re springing forward with your clock and changing your smoke detector batteries, take a few seconds to make sure your vehicle is safe,” LHSC Executive Director Lisa Freeman said. “It’s really simple, and it can save your life.”

Available recalls are determined by entering the Vehicle Identification Number into the search tool from either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or Check to Protect. The NHTSA VIN search tool is available at The Check to Protect website features a license plate search tool in addition to the VIN. Both services are free and easy to use.

Check to Protect is led by NSC. It is a nationwide program that brings together a coalition of automakers, traffic safety partners, state departments of motor vehicles, and others. It encourages all vehicle owners to proactively check their recall status and, if necessary, schedule a free repair at a local dealer as soon as possible.

“Whether leaving for an errand or a long road trip, it is a critical part of safety to prepare your vehicle before you depart for your destination,” Lonny Haschel, senior program manager with the Mobility Safety Impact Program at NSC, said. “Start by checking your vehicle for open safety recalls. It is important for the safety of all road users — both inside and outside the vehicle — and is easy to do. NSC encourages every driver to check their vehicle for an open recall and get it repaired for free as soon as possible, so they can drive safely knowing their vehicle is in (good) working condition for all involved.”

In 2022, there were 932 recalls on vehicles and other equipment in the U.S. that affected more than 30 million vehicles. Some recalls are urgent, such as a recent airbag recall on older Honda and Acura vehicles in which the manufacturer warned owners not to drive the cars because the airbags posed a deadly risk if deployed.

“A great thing about the NHTSA VIN search tool is that you also can sign up for recall alerts that come up in the future,” Freeman said.

The vehicle’s 17-digit VIN can be found on the car registration, insurance documents, and on the lower part of the windshield on the driver’s side. The NHTSA site will provide details on any unrepaired recall on the vehicle for at least the past 15 calendar years. 

If the vehicle is under a safety recall, contact the manufacturer’s dealer to schedule a recall repair as soon as possible. The dealer must fix the safety defect for free.

“It is especially important to check for recalls if you’re driving a used car,” Freeman said. “You may not be getting important safety information from the manufacturer if you’re not the original owner. But if you own the car, the dealer still must repair the recall for free, even if you’re not the original owner.”

Anyone who believes their vehicle may have a safety-related defect that isn’t part of a current recall can contact NHTSA online (click “Report a Safety Problem”) or by calling the Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236.