Consumer Federation of America Executive Director Says 70 Million Vehicles With Open Recalls Are On American Roads

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s no secret that car companies recall millions of vehicles every year.

Cars get called in when a problem needs to be fixed. But a new report finds many car owners never get the repairs done, CBS2’s John Schiumo reported Thursday.

Anthony Burgess drowned saving his little girl from a frigid pond back in March. The 23-year-old had left his car running on the top of a hill at an Indianapolis apartment complex when he got out to talk to a friend.

Authorities believe his 3-year-old daughter somehow 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,'” family member Kelly Jordan said.

Investigators said 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, the executive director of the Consumer Federation of America.

A new report from Gillis’ 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 those open-recall vehicles,” Gillis said.

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Car dealers cannot sell new cars that have 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 that are being sold on used car lots around the country with open recalls and most consumers don’t know that’s the case,” Gillis said.

To find out if your car is under recall just go to safercar.gov and type in your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) number. If it is, the manufacturer will repair the problem for free.

The CFA is also pushing the government to start an education campaign to warn consumers to check their vehicles for recalls.