New warnings were issued in December that New York City Taxis and For-Hire Vehicles (FHVs) may be operating with open safety recalls. A review by the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) found that thousands of cabs in NYC and across the country are not required by regulators to get safety recalls fixed before picking up passengers. The recalls can include deadly defects such as faulty airbags.
CAS Executive Director Jason Levine is calling for change, asking regulators to require companies to fix those recalls before picking up customers. A review by the center found the more than 35,000 cabs licensed in 9 US cities are not required by their regulators to get safety recalls fixed before picking up passengers – including issues like defective Takata airbags, which have killed at least 24 people worldwide.
The Transportation Alliance, a trade group representing fleet owners in 250 cities worldwide, said in a statement that “safety is the first order of business” and noted that its members “will of course be bound to follow whatever regulations are in place.” The group believes the same regulations should also apply to app-hailing services like Uber and Lyft.
Accidents caused by unrepaired safety defects are not directly tracked so it’s not possible to know how many injuries or deaths are related to them.
Fortunately, you can go online and easily find out if your vehicle is subject to a recall. Here’s how:
- Find your unique 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).You can find the VIN on most vehicles by standing outside the front windshield and peering down at the lower, driver’s side corner of the dashboard. Some cars also have it printed on the emblem on the driver-side door jamb. If you can’t locate your VIN, check your vehicle title or registration or look in your insurance documents.
- Use the NHTSA recall checkup tool.Next, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) recall lookup page. Enter your VIN into the provided search field and the results will show the number and type of safety recalls that apply to your specific car. If you don’t get any results, your vehicle is not part of a current recall.
It’s also a good idea to run the VIN when you buy a used car so you know if you will need to deal with any safety issues once you take ownership. The search tool covers the last 15 years of recalls.
Aside from car recalls, you can also use NTHSA’s site to check for recalls on vehicle accessories like car seats, tires, and other car-related equipment.
Important: Just because your vehicle isn’t currently subject to a recall doesn’t mean that it won’t get one in the future. For that purpose, the NHTSA also offers an email notification system if you want to receive alerts about recalls.
- Visit Safercar.gov.Aside from NTHSA’s site, one of the best online resources for safety information on your car is Safercar.gov, a site run by the U.S. Department of Transportation and powered by NHTSA. Safercar.gov also offers crash ratings, complaints and defects, tire safety tips, information on safety technologies, car news, and child car-seat guidelines.
- Register with Carfax.Carfax works as a compilation of all of your vehicle’s various records, including accident reports, service schedules and recall alerts. If you register your car with Carfax’s Vehicle Recall Check, you’ll get notified when your car’s manufacturer reports a new recall. The platform gets this information directly from carmakers, which puts them on the pulse of new service issues as soon as they go public, as well as previous recall campaigns you might not have resolved. You’ll also be able to glean a more detailed view of your vehicle’s history.