Still looking for a New Year’s resolution? Consider checking your vehicle for open recalls

January 3, 2018

Become a safer driver in just a few minutes by visiting, to conduct a fast, free search for open recalls on your car. By entering a vehicle’s year, Identification Number (VIN), make and model you cVehicle an access a list of potential open recalls. The VIN can be found in the lower left corner of a car’s windshield or on the inside of the driver-side door, or on your vehicle’s registration card and possibly on insurance documentation.

Drivers who have open recalls on their vehicles can visit a local authorized dealership to have them repaired for free.

Check To Protect is a national campaign designed to encourage drivers to search the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) open recall database by educating drivers about the staggering number of vehicles with unrepaired recalls and underscores the need to promptly fix recalls once drivers become aware of them.

According to NHTSA, there are more than 53 million—or more than one in four—vehicles on the road with unresolved safety recalls. Neglecting recalls could lead to costly vehicle damage and can jeopardize the safety of motorists on the roads.

Launched in June by the National Safety Council (NSC) and founding coalition member, FCA US, Check To Protect focuses on informing all motorists of the online tool, particularly owners of older and used vehicles.

According to the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and Global Automakers, the recall compliance rate for vehicles up to four years old is 83 percent; the rate decreases significantly to 44 percent for vehicles five to 10 years old. The drop in compliance is attributed to the difficultly in tracking owners of older and used vehicles. Since drivers expect to receive alerts about recalls, they do not tend to check for themselves.

The NSC ( is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where they can make the most impact.

Washington CDL holders must soon prove citizenship or permanent residency

June 30, 2015
truck-busOLYMPIA—Starting Sept. 1, 2015, anyone seeking a commercial driver license (CDL) or commercial learner permit (CLP) in Washington will be required to prove they are a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident.
This new law does not affect anyone’s ability to get or retain a regular driver license. Commercial drivers are not required to present this proof until their next CDL or CLP renewal or other transaction that requires a change to their record, including name, address, and endorsement changes.
Drivers with an enhanced personal driver license or enhanced commercial driver license issued in Washington before Sept. 1, 2015, are not required to again prove their lawful permanent residency or U.S. citizenship.
This new requirement is due to the state’s mandatory compliance with federal law and one aspect of a broad public safety effort around CDLs that brings Washington into line with the national standard.
Starting Sept. 1, commercial drivers must visit one of 28 designated offices to complete their CDL or CLP transaction because of the special resources needed to verify documents. The full list of designated office locations can be found at
Commercial drivers should have one of the six approved documents in their possession before arriving at a designated licensing office, including:
·         Valid U.S. Passport or Passport Card issued by the U.S. Department of State;
·         Birth certificate issued by a state or local government. A hospital-issued “Certificate of Live Birth” is not acceptable;
·         Consular Report of Birth Abroad issued by the Department of State;
·         Certificate of Naturalization issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services;
·         Certificate of Citizenship issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services;
·         Permanent Resident Card or “Green Card” issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Obtaining duplicate documents can take several weeks. Commercial drivers are encouraged to begin the process immediately if they do not currently have at least one in their possession. Photocopies will not be accepted. The Department of Licensing (DOL) will be unable to complete CDL or CLP transactions of those drivers who are unable to provide one of the approved documents.
Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residency is not required to replace a lost, damaged, or stolen card.
More information is available online at or by calling the Washington Department of Licensing Driver Customer Service line at 360-902-3900.

Consumers should watch for flood-damaged vehicles

November 20, 2012
Thousands of vehicles damaged by the recent hurricane-related flooding on the east coast may find their way into the garages of unsuspecting consumers all across the nation in coming months.
While it is not yet known exactly how many vehicles were damaged or destroyed by the flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy, the number is expected to be very high. Many of these vehicles are expected to move from state to state as they are cleaned up and offered for sale at auto auctions, used car dealerships, and even by private parties. 
After being cleaned up, these vehicles may look like any other vehicle. However, there are significant mechanical, safety and health risks associated with flood-damaged vehicles.
Due to the high number of vehicles suffering damage, it is possible some of them will enter Washington and be offered for sale here, Department of Licensing Director Alan Haight said. And because dealers may not be aware of a vehicle’s past, consumers must protect themselves, he added.
“When purchasing a used car, consumers should always carefully examine and test drive a vehicle,” Haight said. “They also should have it inspected by a mechanic they trust and avoid any seller who refuses to allow an independent inspection.”
Dirty floodwater can cause rust and damage major mechanical parts like engines and transmissions. The water also damages electrical systems especially onboard computers that are often located at low points in vehicles, like under seats. Salt water is particularly damaging to the sensitive electronics in modern vehicles.
These tips can help to spot potential flood-damaged vehicles:
  • Before buying any used car, always get a pre-purchase inspection by a trusted mechanic. The extra cost may save money in the long run if major problems are discovered.
  • Ask to see the title of a used car. Check the date and place of transfer to see if the car came from a flood-damaged state and if the title is stamped “salvage.”
  • Use an online vehicle history tracking service like to get more information about a vehicle’s past.
  • Check all gauges on the dashboard to make sure they are accurate, and to look for signs of water.
  • Test the lights, windshield wipers, turn signals, cigarette lighter, radio, heater and air conditioner several times to make sure they work. Also, flex some wires under the dash to see if they bend or crack, since wet wires become brittle upon drying and can crack or fail at any time.
  • Check the trunk, glove compartment, and beneath the seats and dash for signs of mud, rust or water damage.
  • Look for discolored, faded or stained upholstery and carpeting. Carpeting that has been replaced may fit too loosely or may not match the interior color.
  • Check for a well-defined line, or watermark, and for musty odors resulting from mildew.
  • If the car’s history seems suspicious, ask the seller if the car has been damaged by floodwater. Get the answer in writing on the bill of sale.