Driver apathy keeps tens of thousands of unsafe cars on Utah roads

May 22, 2023, 10:36 PM | Updated: 10:38 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Every year, the vehicle history report business Carfax releases its study on how many cars are on the roads with unfixed safety recalls. Unfortunately, it does not seem to be doing much good Carfax editor-in-chief, Patrick Olsen said.

“What seems to be consumer apathy about recalls,” Olsen said.

So, this year, Carfax is trying something different. Carfax looked at the specific recalls that are deemed specifically hazardous.

“We dug deep into the recall information we have in the database and identified all of the ‘Do Not Drive’ and ‘Park Outside’ recalls,” Olsen said.

“Do Not Drive”, as in driving one of these vehicles poses a real risk of death to you or you or others. A prime example in recent years is cars equipped with faulty airbags that can fire shrapnel, like a bullet, into people inside the car. “Park Outside”, refers to cars that have been known to catch fire even with a shut-off engine, and can cause catastrophic damage if left in a garage or carport.

Of the 50 million active recalls in this country, more than a handful fall into these two deadly categories Olsen said.

“We found there’s about two and a half million of these vehicles on U.S. roads today that are going unfixed,” he said. “And there’s actually 32,000 in the state of Utah.”

Olsen says he understands why some car owners may have, what he calls, recall fatigue. But after 20 years in the business, he has seen just how bad unfixed recalls can be.

“I want people to understand that they’re, they’re protecting their family members,” he explained. “They’re protecting their community. They’re protecting themselves. They can save lives today by getting this work done.”

One thing some drivers do not always understand is that an open record must be fixed by the automaker for free.

If you are not sure if your car has an open recall, you can use the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Safety Issues and Recalls search tool to look up your car, using its VIN.

Carfax also online tools you can use to determine if your car is under recall or receive notice of a recall in the future.

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Driver apathy keeps tens of thousands of unsafe cars on Utah roads