The numbers are staggering.  Last year automakers recalled 53.2 million vehicles in the United States.  The number has jumped drastically in the last three years largely due to the massive recall of vehicles with Takata airbag inflators.  At least 16 deaths worldwide have been attributed to Takata's faulty inflators and the Japanese company recently pleaded guilty to a felony charge as part of a $1 billion dollar agreement with the Justice Department.  Regulators estimate that a total of 42 million vehicles will ultimately be affected with the airbag recalls that began in 2013.

According to an article in Automotive News in March of this year, the underlying reason for the surge in recalls is the fact that U.S. traffic deaths surged by 8 percent in 2015, which was the highest increase in over 50 years.  Preliminary estimates show that those numbers jumped sharply again last year.

This has resulted in U.S. government agencies being more diligent in ferreting out faulty vehicle components.  Especially after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) took withering criticism in 2014 for failing to disclose its knowledge of an ignition switch defect in General Motors vehicles.  The NHTSA knew about the problem for ten years and did nothing.  The faulty switches had the potential to shut off the affected cars' engines during driving which would prevent the airbags from inflating. The defect caused 124 deaths before a recall was started.

In Louisiana one in four vehicles on the road has an open recall.  So how do you know if your vehicle has been recalled?

The National Safety Council (NSC) has launched a campaign called "Check To Protect". NSC President and CEO Deborah Hersman said in an interview with the Louisiana Radio Network that drivers can log on to a web site to access a free tool to check for open recalls.  You simply enter your vehicle's VIN number to find out if it's under a manufacturer recall.  The site will even give you information on where to find the nearest dealership that will repair your vehicle at no cost to you.

Louisiana ranks third in the entire country for the number of cars under an open recall. Recalled vehicles pose a serious threat to drivers and passengers and should not be taken lightly.

To find out if your car has been recalled, log on to checktoprotect.org.