Why are so many recalled vehicles on Florida roads?

You hear about vehicle recalls all the time, maybe you've had one and fixed it. What about the cars next to you on the road?

TAMPA -- Florida is one of the states that has the most unfixed recalls on the road right now

That’s why 10investigates teamed up with Chris Basso from CARFAX to show you how big and how unsafe this problem is.

We went to a Tampa parking lot and asked driver after driver if we could check their license plate to see if their car may have an open recall.

“Bingo!  She has a recall,” says Basso.

It didn’t take us long to find vehicle,

“We got two right here,” says Basso.

We found vehicle after vehicle that needed to head to the shop.

Automotive recalls hit a record high of more than 53 million vehicles in 2016.

And narrowing it down to some of the biggest recalls over the past couple of years -- ignition switches, problems with cruise control and Takata airbags. But a majority of those car owners haven’t gotten their cars fixed, turning the streets more into a game of dominos. If a car with a recall has a safety issue and they are involved in an accident, cars nearby aren’t safe either.

“There’s almost 900,000 cars here in the Bay Area. That equates to almost one in four cars. And SUVS and minivans have maybe the most recalls,” says Basso.

But Janelle McCullough would have never thought the car she was driving had a recall.

“That’s interesting,” says McCullough.

Because her vehicle is in the shop right now.

“It’s at the dealership for a recall,” says McCullough.

So the car she's driving is a rental.

We found her back in that Tampa parking lot.

Huge safety concern

“How would you feel if we told you your rental car has 2 open recalls,” says Basso. “One for speed sensors and one for the secondary hood latch. That’s a major safety concern. The hood could just pop up when she is driving down the road."

Unfixed recalls are a huge safety concern. In most infamous recall -- the Takata airbag recall -- it's been reported close to 20 deaths related to the recalled airbags.  One death was here in Tampa.

The family has even been quoted saying, “They never knew about the recall because they never received a notice.”

And while Janelle would have never thought to check her rental for a recall, all the drivers we spoke with say now they will keep up with it.

How to find out if your car has a safety recall 

You can either head over to NHTSA.gov/recalls and type in your vin number or download the CARFAX app for free.  All they need is your license number and you can tell if your car has a recall.

It will also alert you down the road if one was to ever be issued for your vehicle.

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