CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - One in four drivers in Northeast Ohio are likely driving a vehicle without knowing about a potentially dangerous recall like a defective ignition switch or dangerous airbags. Tens of millions of recalled vehicles are still in use across the country, which is a 34 percent increase over last year.
There's a good chance that you or the person driving next to you is behind the wheel of them.
"There are 63 million cars that are on the road right now with unfixed recalls. In Ohio, there are two point three million alone. Over seven hundred thousand vehicles with unfixed recalls in the Cleveland area," Chris Basso from CARFAX said.
We had no trouble finding vehicles with unfixed recalls. Armed with a tablet and the "MyCarFax App," we checked out dozens of vehicles parked at the West Side Market and Steelyard Commons, by running their license plates.
We found defects that were potentially dangerous. "The brake lights may not work on the car and that can lead to serious crash," said Basso.
For the family riding in this SUV, the unfixed recall could even be deadly. "It's for carbon monoxide emissions," said Chris.
So the family that just got out of their car are susceptible to a leak of carbon monoxide emissions. The family of this particular vehicle didn't want to be interviewed. We notified them of their potentially deadly issue, for their own safety.
Ashley Norwood had some concerns for the safety of her family after we alerted her to a recall on her Toyota van. "Ma'am, you actually do have a recall on your van , actually, there's corrosion here," said Basso. "What could happen here, the spare tire stored under the floor could be separated from the tire carrier and become a road hazard and cause the vehicle to crash."
Norwood has been driving with a serious defect for three years.
With so much at stake, why would any motorist delay getting their recalled vehicle repaired? Basso says busy family life often gets in the way. Which explains why family oriented vehicles like minivans and SUVs are most likely to be left unfixed.
Another reason? Many vehicle owners simply haven't been informed.
Greg Lein bought his 2006 Mustang eight months ago. He said he wasn't aware it had a bad airbag, until Cleveland 19 looked it up. He had a Takata airbag and faulty Takata airbags have been linked to 11 deaths in the U.S. and over one hundred injuries.
Lein said the dealer told him about the recall. Dealers claim they often have trouble getting the parts necessary to perform the repairs.
A vehicle I purchased last November has a recall notice. The dealer sent me a letter that said they can't make the repairs unto sometime this summer.
Katie Sabersky, a mother of three young children, said she was confident in knowing she'd corrected a recall on her Honda minivan. But when we checked her van, there was a second recall that was even more serious that she didn't know about. Her second row seat had a recall for not latching properly.
"If you're ever involved in a crash, whoever is sitting in that seat could be thrown out" said Basso.
To check for unfixed recalls on your own vehicle, you can use the free MyCarfax app -- search on iTunes Store or Google Play.for it -- or you can use the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website.