WASHINGTON, D.C. --- Vehicle owners across the U.S. can be instantly informed of a safety recall under a new automated alert system.

The recall alerts can be received via e-mail or RSS feeds on personal computers, cell phones or PDA devices automatically and free of charge.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are about 600 vehicle recalls each year. Historically, one in four motorists ignore these recalls when they are announced.

"It is extremely important that people are aware of recalls and act quickly to get their vehicles repaired," Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters said.

Under the new alert system, consumers can elect to receive all vehicle recalls as they are made public, or personalize the alerts to specific vehicles.

David Kelly, acting administrator of NHTSA, noted that the new vehicle recall notification system is an expansion of the agency's consumer safety communications program. Earlier this year, NHTSA also introduced automated recall alerts for child safety seats and tires.

"I urge everyone to visit the safercar.gov website and sign up for all three recall alert programs," Kelly said.

To start receiving NHTSA's recall alerts, click here and register.