Recall Alert LogoConsidering all the automotive recalls that were announced last year and continue to be announced this year, it is difficult for consumers to know whether their cars have been affected. That should change with the introduction of a new smartphone application that allows consumers to look up the licenses of their cars to know if a recall applies to them. The application is connected to a massive database that connects drivers' VIN numbers to their license plates.

Journalists Tested the App in Public

Recently, a Seattle-based news station decided to test the application out by looking up the cars belonging to individuals at a ferry dock. Several of the vehicles they looked up did not have any open recalls, but one of them -- a 2001 Honda Accord -- did have an unfixed defective airbag inflator and the owner of the car was completely unaware. The journalists also found a 2005 Jeep with a recalled trailer hitch, which the Jeep owners said they already knew about.

The application was created by Carfax, which gathers its information about cars from public records. According to Carfax, millions of Americans are unknowingly selling, driving and buying cars with recalls that were never repaired, which could be dangerous and deadly. For example, Carfax says that approximately 950,000 cars have unfixed defects in just Washington state and approximately 63,000 of them were up for sale last year.

Application Is Free

Carfax has reiterated the fact that the cellphone application is absolutely free, and it also offers an Internet-based version of the application on its website. When consumers save their license plate numbers in their cellphones, the application will also advise them of updates whenever new information surfaces that links their cars to a recall.

This useful tool could very well save the lives of the people who use it. Meanwhile, it is likely that even with this new application, not all recalled vehicles will ever be fixed and drivers will still have to share the road with them. Motorists and their passengers who suffer injury due to a defective automobile or autopart, may want to investigate the merits of pursuing a legal claim for product liability damages including medical costs related to their injuries.