Millions of cars recalled for dangerous airbags. Why used-car dealerships can still sell them to you.

Used cars with serious recalls, Takata airbags sold in Georgia

Millions of cars are pulled from Takata airbags, but every single one of them can be sold at a used car dealership, without you even knowing.

ATLANTA – John Healy counts himself lucky.

A minor car accident left him seriously injured in the face. A piece of metal cut into his chin.

He described it as “I can touch it with my tongue.” “She could have killed me. She could have killed me.”

Another piece of metal hit his jaw, exposing his bones.

Metal came out of his Takata airbag. It’s a type of airbag that has infected hundreds of people across the country and killed at least 19 people.

I still have tens of millions of cars in the US Defective Takata Air Bags Under the summons. But, each of them can be sold on a used car plot, not installed without your knowledge.

They can sell it to you even in cases where this recall cost drivers their lives.

We found many cars with open Takata recalls for sale here in Georgia. From Smyrna to Newnan, from Griffin to Suwanee, and everywhere in between.

“It’s not true and they are putting their lives, their families’ lives, and their children’s lives at risk,” Hailey said.

Healy’s attorney, Andrew Felix, says it’s an unfair practice.

“They take your money for a product,” Felix said. “It has to be sold with something you can trust and know will work for what you paid for.”

Other recall issues to look out for

Felix said there is no law that obliges used-car dealers to fix these issues before selling the vehicle. Takata isn’t the only recall issue drivers have to worry about.

“I remember my dad telling me he can’t stop, he can’t see,” Kimberly Pierce said, describing the moments before her father died in a crash.

She said his 2017 Kia Forte’s engine and brakes failed while he was driving, and the airbag was never deployed.

In another case, a 2017 Kia Sportage caught fire while idling on the road.

“I just couldn’t make it through,” said Navada Stocking, who only had seconds to get out of her car.

She was stopped at a red light waiting to turn when her car broke out.

She described “fire rising from under the hood of the car.”

The makes and models of these two cars are currently being recalled. 11 Live investigations found that used car dealers are still selling them with these issues not being fixed.

Under recall, still for sale

We searched over a dozen used car dealers in the metro Atlanta area. Everyone has at least one car under recall. Some of the recalls were for cars deemed “unsafe to drive.”

We went to one dealer in Lithia Springs that sold 20 cars with open recalls. Three of them received urgent warnings.

“The message says ‘Urgent, don’t drive this car,'” live investigator Kristen Crowley tells the worker, pointing to a recalled Mercedes on the ground.

“Eh, this is you know, news, somebody wants to make a scene,” he said.

“Do you think this is not legitimate?” we asked.

The worker does not answer.

“It’s from the government. The federal government says don’t lead it,” Crowley said.

He replied: “There are those who benefit from it.”

We ask the seller if they will try to sell the car or if they will repair it. He replies that he will call his “man”.

“This is not illegal”

Pierce described the resale of recalled cars as annoying.

“It’s tragic that something like this is illegal,” she said, contemplating the fact that someone could buy a car with issues that aren’t quite as fixed as the one her father died in.

Pierce’s lawyer, Rita Tucker WilliamsHe said used car dealerships can be held liable in a civil court for selling a vehicle they know is unsafe. But, if they are not required to check for recoveries, then they can say that they have no knowledge of the problem.

It’s up to the people and politicians to bring about change, Williams said.

“If people talk, the community, the public and they say ‘No, that’s not okay,’ and that’s what you’re doing here today, to raise awareness that this isn’t illegal,” Williams said.

Some lawmakers in Congress have proposed a bill that would make it illegal for used-car dealers to sell a vehicle with an open recall. That was over a year ago. He is still sitting on the committee.

“It’s crazy how they can let these cars explode so much to these people knowing there’s a problem and they just let it go anyway,” Healy said.

Jonathan Salmeron, a used car salesman, said that banning the sale of recalled cars is not the answer.

“For every 10 you get I’m sure about 6 or 7 of them have active and open recall,” Salmeron said.

He said most dealers are trying to fix the problem with the manufacturer. But, he said, this is not always possible.

They’re like, ‘Hey, we’ve been out of this recall for about two months’ or they don’t have the ‘parts available on them. I remember calling to check if I could get one and they didn’t have spare parts available,” Salmeron said.

This car was sold without the recall issue fixed, but Salmeron said the customer was well aware of that.

He suggests that a better law would require dealers to notify their customers if a vehicle is under recall before selling it to them.

How to check the condition of your car

Here’s what you can do to stay safe.

Every vehicle has a VIN number. You can find your vehicle in the driver’s windshield, or usually online if your vehicle is posted on a website.

Just enter your VIN number in a file National Highway Transportation Safety Administration Database https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls.

It will tell you if your car has an open recall.

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