PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- According to a new Carfax report, there are 53 million vehicles on the road right now in the U.S. with open safety recalls. That's down about five percent compared to last year.
In Arizona, there are about 1.3 million vehicles on the road in the state with open recalls. According to Carfax, one million of those are in the Phoenix area, which ranks as ninth in the nation for cities with the most open recalls.
"The number of vehicles on the road with open recalls peaked at 63 million in 2017, so we're heading in the right direction, but there's still a long way to go," said Faisal Hasan, the general manager of data at Carfax.
Carfax says free online search tools have helped consumers find out there are open recalls that need to be fixed. The company says some states are also helping to get the word out when owners register their vehicles. To encourage more states to adopt notification policies, the Promoting Auto Recalls Toward Safety (PARTS) Act was just introduced in Congress. It would authorize the U.S. Department of Transportation to give states grant money to help notify vehicle owners about recalls when the car is being registered. Jason Levine, the executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, says the average vehicle on the road in the U.S. is 12 years old and goes through a lot of different owners, who may not realize there is a recall.
"The biggest moment when people get recalls fixed is that first moment, they said on the news they said on your show. They get a letter in the mail. They go out and get it fixed, but if you don't get people right away, it takes a long time sometimes," Levine told 3 On Your Side. "The idea is how can we make sure we're reaching people not just the first few months but for several years because the car has changed hands."
A spokesperson for Arizona MVD said the agency does not comment on pending legislation but said the state's website does help drivers find info about open recalls. The PARTS Act would also extend the time frame in which auto manufacturers have to submit reports on recall repairs.
"Right now, after 18 months, manufacturers can stop talking about whether or not they have finished repairing all of the vehicles that are under recall," Levine said. "This extends it up to five years and puts up a safety scorecard, so it tells consumers each of these defects. We're talking about a car catching on fire, brakes not working, whatever it might be. Is it ten percent? Ninety percent? How many are left unrepaired? It really provides consumers good information."
Check your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for recalls here.