The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched a new public awareness campaign called Safe Cars Save Lives that urges consumers to check for open recalls at least twice a year and to get their vehicles fixed as soon as parts are available.

Last year, there were close to 900 recalls affecting 51 million vehicles nationwide. Every year, on average, 25 percent of recalled vehicles are left unrepaired.

“Safe Cars Save Lives” campaign launches in U.S.

“Recalls are a serious safety issue that should be promptly addressed,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “An informed consumer is one of our strongest allies in ensuring recalled vehicles are repaired. Do not wait to act if your car is under recall and the parts are available.”

The Safe Cars Save Lives campaign features online banner ads illustrating that safety should never take a back seat and that checking for a recall could help save a life. Consumers are urged to get into the habit of checking their vehicle identification number (VIN) twice a year at a minimum using NHTSA’s free VIN look up tool. To remember to check, NHTSA suggests timing it with day light savings – every November when setting clocks back and every March when setting clocks forward. If there is an open recall, the safety agency advises owners to contact their local dealer to schedule an appointment and bring their vehicle in for repair as soon as possible.

The recall awareness campaign also includes a suite of safety videos to help inform consumers on how to check their VINs, how recalls and investigations work, and information on what every car owner should know.

“Safe Cars Save Lives is a critical effort for building public awareness of recalls and is the first national campaign aimed at empowering vehicle owners,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind.

“Millions of vehicles are recalled every year. Old, new, used or leased – one of those recalled vehicles could be yours. Check your VIN – Safe Cars Save Lives.”