(WALB) - As Takata airbag recalls make headlines, officials are urging car owners to check their vehicles for unfixed safety recalls.
In March, a 17-year-old Texas woman was killed when investigators say her airbag exploded during a traffic crash, sending shrapnel into her neck.
Startling numbers show an increasing number of vehicles are on the roads with dangerous safety recalls. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 1.5 million cars were recalled in 2015.
"Unfortunately we've seen real safety issues that affect not only the passengers of the recalled vehicles, but also people on the roads should those recalled parts fail while the vehicle is being driven," said Carfax spokesperson Chris Basso.
A recent study by vehicle tracking service Carfax shows most of those safety recalls go unfixed. More than a million vehicles in Georgia are on the road with unfixed recalls, with the Columbus-Albany area having the highest rate at 19%.
"Any recall on your vehicle is a safety issue and should be dealt with appropriately, taking it to your dealer and having that recall fixed to maintain the safety of your car," Basso said.
Basso says many car owners aren't aware their vehicle has a safety recall or don't realize the importance of getting it fixed.
"Don't assume that the problem can't happen to you or that we're classifying the recalls as big or small."
There are several options available to car owners to check for safety recalls. Most of them require the Vehicle Identification Number, which can be found in the lower left corner of the windshield.
Consumers can call their dealership to request a search using the VIN.
The NHTSA also gives drivers the option to check for recalls online. A search using the VIN can bring up all recalls issued in the past 15 years.
Basso recommends the My Carfax app for those on the go. It uses the vehicle license plate number to search for recalls on that specific vehicle, and keep owners informed of current and future recalls.