MIAMI (CBSMiami) – In the last month or so, Ford has recalled two million trucks for a potential seat belt problem and Honda said airbags in more than a million of its vehicles needed to be fixed.
Automakers issue recalls on a regular basis but a new report finds many car owners never have the problems repaired.
Anthony Burgess drowned saving his little girl from a pond in March. The 23-year-old had left his car running at this apartment complex when he got out to talk to a friend. Authorities believe his three-year-old daughter someone shifted the vehicle out of park causing it to roll into the water.
Burgess didn’t know how to swim but was able to hold the child above his head until bystanders came to help.
“She said my daddy got me out of the water but he couldn`t get out,” said family member Kelly Jordan.
Investigators say the car had an unrepaired recall for problems with the shifter.
“We estimate that there are about 70 million vehicles on the road today with open recalls,” said Jack Gillis with the Consumer Federation of America.
A new report from the group found about 25 to 30 percent of recalled vehicles go unrepaired.
“Those open recalls not only pose a danger to the occupants of the vehicle but they pose a danger to the rest of us who are driving on the roads near open recall vehicles,” said Gillis.
Car dealers cannot sell ‘new’ cars with an open recall but there are no federal laws against selling a ‘used’ car with one. Gillis and other consumer advocates are pushing for federal legislation to change that.
“There are millions of cars being sold on used car lots with open recalls and most consumers don’t know that’s the case,” he said.
To find out if your car is under recall just go to safecar.gov and type in your VIN number. If it is, the manufacturer will repair the problem for free.
The Consumer Federation of America is also pushing the government to start an education campaign to warn consumers to check their vehicles for recalls.