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Many recalled cars never get repaired

Manufacturing or design defects show up in vehicles throughout Illinois all of the time. Recalls are conducted when these problems seriously affect the safety of drivers and passengers. Even though it's in the best interest of a vehicle owner to follow the recall, a report from the Consumer Federation of America shows that 25 to 30 percent of recalled vehicles never get repaired. At any given time, there are as many as 70 million vehicles with open recalls out on the road.

Recalls target many types of vehicle components, including transmissions, brakes, engines, tires and even computer control systems. One story from a rural family described a situation where a toddler was able to shift a vehicle into neutral due to a defect, resulting in the near drowning of the child. Vehicles without repairs can be a danger to everyone around them.

It's against the law for official car dealers to sell a vehicle with an open recall, but it's not illegal for private owners to do so. Several safety advocacy groups are petitioning the federal government to create a new law. Many people don't know how to determine if a vehicle has an open recall on it. The NHTSA runs a website where VINs are matched with recall information.

When a driver or passenger is injured as a result of a defective car part, legal action may be warranted. It's the responsibility of an attorney to find out who is legally liable for the accident, whether it's a parts manufacturer, trucking company or individual driver. In some cases, companies refuse to conduct recalls to save money, but they can be held responsible for their actions.

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