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Millions of vehicles on the road could have open recalls that may lead to serious injuries or death

It's estimated that 16 million vehicles are currently on the roads with an unfixed and open recall.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Are you driving instead of flying somewhere for the holidays this year? How safe is your vehicle given that almost 16 million cars, trucks, and SUVs have open recalls on them, specifically airbag recalls?

The explosion of an airbag is fast, dramatic, and should save your life in the event of a crash. Key word there is “should”.

“CARFAX estimates there are about 16 million airbags in vehicles on the road today with an open safety recall. More than 11 million of those are Takata airbags which are the subject of the largest recall action in US history.  But, a CARFAX review of available data estimates there are vehicles with another 5 million airbags from other suppliers that need to be replaced under recall orders,” said Emilie Voss with CARFAX.

There are a couple of ways to make sure your vehicle is OK. First, you can use the Carfax app. You just input your car's VIN and it will tell you if there is a recall and if it has been fixed. 

You can also check safercar.gov from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It might be a good idea to do both because airbag issues are still a major risk. Some car manufacturers even have scanned random plates looking for these vehicles that are unfixed.

RELATED: Nissan recalls over 250,000 vehicles to replace Takata air bags

"These are extraordinary measures done by companies that are desperate because they know they have let this drop,” said Sean Kane with Safety Research &Strategies.

File photo taken in 2015 shows a deployed safety airbag in a 2001 Honda Accord at the LKQ Pick Your Part salvage yard in Medley, Florida.

Sixty-three million airbag inflators were recalled amid 18 deaths due to crashes in the United States.

RELATED: Rides for hire have higher odds of open safety recalls

“Unfortunately, the recent deaths related to defective airbags underscore the critical importance of closing any open recalls,” said Faisal Hasan, General Manager of Data at CARFAX. “As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, we know people may be taking road trips to visit family and loved ones. We strongly encourage all car owners to check for open recalls. It’s free to check and free to get repairs, and it’s a vital step in making our roads safer for everyone.”

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