Millions of potentially dangerous vehicles on the road

20 percent of Ohioans have unfixed recalls
Posted at 7:11 PM, Aug 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-08 19:14:00-04

It's a horrifying scenario no driver wants to be in: your vehicle suddenly losing control, or not functioning when you need it most.

Last week, a local woman experienced just that, when her accelerator got stuck on the highway. While that's an extreme case, experts say we could see more.

New data shows some of the most fixable and yet dangerous recalls continue to go unfixed.

When you’re driving around, problems usually are not on your radar until you get a notice in the mail.

That's when you have a decision to make: to fix or not to fix.

"Recalls are only made on safety related items, so they are very crucial," said Jim Wise, service manager at Metro Toyota.

“I've got 6 or 7 of them on my dining room table," said Ken Wolf who ironically works at an automotive repair shop and yet has put off getting the ignition recall fixed on his own vehicle for the past two years.

“Pretty much haven't even looked at it. I know it's nothing dangerous, so I don't even worry about it," he said.

He's like many drivers.

“There's a lot more that we see in terms of recalls that we never saw before,” Wise said. “A lot of people wait until something breaks and you don't really want to do that."

New data shows vehicle recalls have spiked in recent years, with a record 51 million in 2015 alone. But, the number of drivers bringing in their vehicles for repairs is nowhere near that number. In Ohio, nearly 20 percent have gone unfixed.

“If it's not safety related, than it's really not going to be a recall, so yes, there are people driving around with vehicles that are deemed unsafe or could be potentially unsafe if something fails," said Wise.

It's not just customer negligence though, sometimes dealerships run out of supplies, like for the most recent airbag recall from the maker Takata, the largest auto-related recall in US history.

“In this particular situation its deploying to soon, so yes, it's very dangerous...since there's so many vehicles involved in this they're not able to produce them fast enough," Wise explained.

But until Wolf senses a problem, he said he'll continue to drive as usual.

“Haven't had a problem yet just don't want to be inconvenienced."

That’s something Jim Wise and other dealerships strongly advise against.

"I do definitely advise against it...there's a reason why it's a recall, so you definitely need to get it take lab care of as soon as possible."

Now the shortage of automotive parts at dealerships for recalls can cause many drivers to be put on a waiting list that can sometimes take up to a month or so to fulfill.

It’s also important to note, if you know about a recall and you don't get it fix, you will be liable if you get in a crash because of that problem.