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NHTSA 21-13
Monday, July 8, 2013
Contact: Derrell Lyles, 202-366-9550,

Every 44 seconds a motor vehicle is stolen in the United States according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Agency trend data shows that July and August are the worst months for vehicle thefts, but if consumers follow a few simple steps, they can help avoid thefts and increase the chance that vehicles are recovered.

More than 40 percent of motor vehicle theft incidents involve mistakes by drivers. To help protect your vehicle and personal belongings from being stolen, the agency is offering the following advice as part of National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month:

  • Always take your key, don't leave it in or on your vehicle.
  • Always close and lock all windows and doors when you park.
  • Park in well-lit areas.
  • Always keep your vehicle in your garage, if possible.
  • Never, ever leave valuables in your vehicle, especially where they can be seen.
  • Never, ever leave the area while your vehicle is running.
  • Protect your vehicle with an antitheft/immobilizer device.

NHTSA data also show that only 52 percent of stolen vehicles are recovered. Below are some steps you should take if your vehicle has been stolen:

  • Contact the police immediately to file a stolen vehicle report. (You may also be asked to provide the following information: License plate number, make, model and color of car, VIN number and any identifying characteristics).
  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to file a claim within 24 hours of when you discovered your vehicle was stolen.
  • If you find your vehicle before authorities do, contact the police and your insurance company immediately.

For more information, check out NHTSA's brand new theft prevention info graphic, brochure and video at

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U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
1-800-424-9153 (TTY)