DETROIT (Reuters) - Nearly one in five vehicles on U.S. roads is in need of repair of a safety issue serious enough to be involved in a federal government recall, according to used-car history provider Carfax.
There are more than 47 million cars in the United States with open recalls, up 27 percent from a year ago, Carfax said.
“Our data shows there’s still much hard work to be done in addressing recalls,” Larry Gamache, communications director at Carfax, said.
There were 258.5 million vehicles in operation on U.S. roads at last count in October 2015, business research provider IHS Inc, the parent of Carfax, said.
Gamache said it is troubling that the type of vehicle with the highest rate of unfixed safety issues is the family-oriented minivan, with one of every 4.6 having open recalls.
SUVs are second at one in 5.1 vehicles, followed by pickup trucks and cars, each at one in 5.5 vehicles.
For all vehicles, Carfax said one in 5.4 are operating with an open recall.
The highest rates of unfixed vehicles were, in order, Texas, Mississippi, Alaska, Utah and West Virginia, Carfax said.
Recalls can be fixed at no cost to the consumer at U.S. dealerships.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that in 2015 there were close to 900 recalls affecting a record 51 million vehicles.
The NHTSA has been working with automakers to improve the rate of repairs of recalled vehicles, including a “Safe Cars Save Lives” campaign that urges owners to use their vehicle identification number to check for open recalls on the NHTSA website safercar.gov.
The NHTSA says its data shows that about 25 percent of recalled vehicles are left unrepaired.
In the first nine months of 2015, there were about 26,000 U.S. traffic deaths, 9 percent higher than a year earlier and the highest rate for that period since 2008, the NHTSA said.
The NHTSA said 94 percent of crashes result from human error, and that it is working to address driver behavior as well as increase the rate of repair of recalled cars and trucks.
Carfax, like NHTSA, has an online application on which consumers can see if there is an open recall on a vehicle. Carfax asks consumers to enter their license plate’s characters.
Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Leslie Adler