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Dangers on the road: Report finds tens of thousands of vehicles on Chicago streets are not safe to drive

A recent report finds there could be as many as 70,000 recalled vehicles driving around Chicago that could be a risk to you or your neighbors.

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A recent report released by Carfax found tens of thousands of vehicles on the road in Chicago that are not safe to drive, with serious recalls waiting to be repaired, and owners may not have any idea of the potential dangers.

Each of these vehicles on the road can be a danger to you, or your neighbors, but luckily, there’s a free and easy way to find out if you’re driving at risk. 

One of the more widespread and risky recalls waiting to be fixed: Takata airbags. Vehicles with Takata airbags were recalled in 2014 after airbag explosions killed 23 people in the United States, and injured as many as 400 people, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA.)

Today, millions of these airbags still need to be replaced, and that’s just one recall. 

“There are some recalls out there that simply can't be avoided,” said Patrick Olson with Carfax.

Olson said Carfax, known for its popular vehicle history report, determined there are 92,000 vehicles in operation in Illinois that have “do not drive,” or “park outside” recall repairs, waiting to be fixed. 

Of the statewide figures, Olson said, “There are about 70,000 in the Chicago region, which of course also overlaps with Indiana, [and] Wisconsin.”

Vehicle recalls are not all the same, but “do not drive” and “park outside” warnings are the most serious.

Just recently, Jeep Cherokee announced it was recalling more than 132,000 vehicles with a “park outside” warning, since these vehicles are at risk of fire sparking, even when the engine is not running.

The automaker says repairs for that problem are still in development.

One reason why so many cars are still left unrepaired could come down to how drivers are notified of these recalls: Most often by first-class mail.

And as Olson points out, “it is not the primary form of communication that it once was.”

There are free ways to find out if yours or any car has a recall, waiting to be fixed.

NHTSA has a free online tool and all you need is the vehicle identification number (VIN.) To use that tool, click here.  

Carfax also has a free tool where drivers can search a vehicle’s recall by using the VIN or vehicle’s license plate. To check it out, click here.

Have a consumer complaint? Call 1-844-NBC-RESP or click here to let us know, so we can help.

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