A new Carfax study suggests that millions of people around the U.S. are currently driving, buying or selling dangerous vehicles thanks to an unrepaired recall.
Carfax's annual research on the problem shows that approximately 4 million vehicles around the nation have at least one safety recall that's never been repaired.
Five million of the affected vehicles have been bought and sold by "potentially unsuspecting customers" in 2014 alone. One of the most stunning discoveries is that people purchasing or driving family-oriented vehicles, like SUVs or minivans, are most at risk.
"America's cavalier response to manufacturer safety recalls is putting lives at risk," said Larry Gamache, communications director at Carfax in a company statement. "Every morning millions of people drive to work, school and other places in a potential ticking time bomb. Fires, crashes and serious injury are just a few consequences of letting recalls go unfixed. The minor inconvenience that comes from having a recall fixed pales in comparison to what can happen if you don't."
One in three minivans and one in five SUVs have an unrepaired recall, according to the study.
Though every state has a large amount of unfixed recalled vehicles, the five places that top the list are California, Texas, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania top the list.
The risk is greatest in West Virginia, Michigan, Mississippi, Wyoming and New Jersey. These areas have the highest ratios of unfixed recalled cars in the nation.
"Carfax and the auto manufacturers are working hard to help eliminate this problem," Gamache added. "Car owners and buyers can easily find out about open recalls through the myCarfax app for free and on Carfax Vehicle History Reports."
Car buyers worried about purchasing a new car that might have an unfixed recall can visit Carfax.com. The site includes the most recent recall information reported to Carfax.