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Woman says minivan power door opened while she drove 45 mph

The woman did not learn of the recall on her used car until after the incident

Jennifer Franklin of Woodstock, Ala., has been driving a rental car since soon after the power sliding door to her 2014 Toyota Sienna suddenly opened.

“I was going about 45 mph and it just kept opening and opening.” Franklin told ABC 33/40 News. “And they (her children) were screaming and I just couldn’t figure out what they were screaming about.”

Two of her children, 11 and 15 at the time, were in the back seat with their seat belts on as Franklin drove down McFarland Boulevard in Tuscaloosa. They were returning from a doctor’s appointment.

“It was one of the scariest things,” Franklin said. “It was awful. He was screaming. I was in the driver’s seat. And I’ve got all these other cars around me.

The incident happened on November 28, 2016. That’s six days after Toyota issued a national recall for 744,000 2011 to 2016 Sienna’s to fix the door. At the time, Toyota said it was developing a remedy. There was media coverage about the recall. But Franklin didn’t see the news and she says she never received the company's recall notice.

One possible reason: She bought the car used in April 2015. And she didn’t learn about the recall until she said she had a discussion with Toyota on December 1st of last year. That’s when she turned the car in to a local dealer for repairs—and those repairs just occurred.

“No door should come open,” Franklin said. “No door, while it’s locked, should come open on your kid. I don’t have babies in car seats anymore. But some mom does. And that’s scary if you think about it.”

Remedy notices for the Toyota Sienna recall going out

Toyota says it’s continuing to work with Franklin to address her concerns.

While the recall occurred last November. Toyota is in the process of issuing remedy notices to owners this month--that’s eight months after the recall notice was first issued.

Late Monday, Franklin picked up her recalled Sienna after repairs were made to the power door. She also returned her rented minivan that Toyota paid for.

Given what happened to Franklin, if you own a 2011 to 2016 Toyota Sienna, be sure to get your car fixed.

Check for safety recalls using your VIN number

One more point:

The federal government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says there were more than 79 million cars recalled in 2016.

That’s 65 million more cars recalled than in 2006 — 10 years earlier.

It’s a good idea to go to the NHTSA website. Enter the VIN number for your car and see if your car is on the list for any kind of a safety recall.

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