A tragic car accident in Indiana when 24-year-old Anthony Burgess died after pulling his 3-year-old daughter from a car that rolled into a frigid pond is raising new concerns over unrepaired recalled cars that are still on our streets. According to a CBS News report, the type of car that crashed into the pond had been recalled for a vehicle defect that could cause it to roll away, even when the driver put it in park. Even though he could not swim, Burgess raced into the water and freed his daughter, Amina, from a sinking 2008 Pontiac G6. Burgess had left the car running when he got out to see a friend.
The investigation is still ongoing. While police are looking into whether the toddler might have shifted the car out of park, that seems highly unlikely because that would have required a foot on the brake. The Pontiac was recalled in 2014 for “transmission shift cable fractures.” This could lead to the car not shifting into park properly and creating a rollaway risk. Police are also investigating this particular incident to determine whether the unrepaired recall was a factor.
Vehicles with Unrepaired Recalls
According to Carfax.com, more than 57 million or one in five vehicles on our roads have open, unrepaired recalls. These are vehicles recalled for everything from faulty airbags and fire hazards to defective, steering, seatbelts and airbags. And they are all recalled for defects that could compromise the safety of the vehicle’s occupants. Safety advocates are also saying that automakers can be doing more to bring public awareness about these recalls.
What Consumers Can Do
If you suspect your vehicle has been recalled for safety issues or if you are in the market to buy a used vehicle, be sure to visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website and enter your vehicle identification number (VIN) to find out if your vehicle is part of a recall. If it is, please contact the dealer or the manufacturer so you can have it repaired. Under federal law, automakers are required to repair recalled vehicles free of charge.
If you have been injured as the result of an unrepaired, recalled vehicle, contact an experienced auto defect lawyer who might be able to advise you regarding your legal rights and options. You may be able to recover compensation for your injuries, damages and losses.