PITTSBURGH - 11 Investigates is always looking out for your safety. When we learned hundreds of thousands of cars are on the roads in Pittsburgh despite recalls, our team wanted to learn more.
11 Investigates started looking into this issue when the Takata faulty airbag recall expanded in January.
Takata added an additional 3 million cars and trucks to the list that includes 37 million vehicles from 19 different automakers. 11 Investigates started working with Carfax, headquartered outside Washington, D.C., to learn more.
"These airbags are exploding on impact because of inflators that are eroding over time," Chris Basso, of Carfax, told us.
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So far, 15 people in the U.S. have died because of the airbag defect, including a Mercer County teenager in 2001. Despite this, many people are not bringing their recalled cars in to be fixed. One reason they cite is they simply didn't know their car was included in a recall. Those who are bringing their cars in are discovering there are not enough parts to fix them.
The backlog forced the government to launch a priority list. This list ranks vehicles for repairs based on things like make, model, age and climate location.
"States that have a higher heat and humidity, the airbags are greater affected," Basso said.
Carfax still recommends getting in contact with your dealership soon, because as soon as a car part is available, you'll be ready to get the replacement.
Our investigation didn't stop with the Takata recall. We learned there are millions of cars driving around the U.S. with unfixed safety and emissions recalls, putting other drivers in danger. In Pittsburgh, we found there are 500,000 drivers with unfixed recalls, about 1 in 5 cars.
We had Carfax meet us in Pittsburgh this spring, to put vehicles downtown to the test. The My Carfax app allows you to use a license plate to see if a car has an unresolved recall.
We found every 1 in 5 cars in downtown Pittsburgh had a recall, matching up with the statistics. Basso noted there is no such thing as a small recall.
"It's really on everybody," Basso said. "It's everybody's responsibility that they're staying informed about recalls and making sure that they're getting them fixed."
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