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EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Roughly 8,000 cars in Rhode Island pose an immediate safety hazard to their owners, 12 News has learned.

According to a new report from CARFAX, there are more than 50 million vehicles that have been recalled — but not repaired — across the country, and 2.5 million of those vehicles are dangerous enough to fall under a “Do Not Drive” or “Park Outside” warning from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Do Not Drive

One of the most prominent causes for this warning is the use of Takata airbags, which have killed at least 23 people and injured 400 in the U.S. alone. The NHTSA says the chemicals used to inflate these airbags can deteriorate and cause the inflators to blow apart, hurling metal shrapnel at the driver and passengers.

CARFAX’s Patrick Olsen told 12 News there are 19 auto manufacturers with outstanding “Do Not Drive” recalls due to the use of these airbags.

Park Outside

Still more cars have been recalled because they could spontaneously catch fire for one of many reasons, from potential short-circuits to corroded wires.

“The fire risk from these vehicles is so great that not only do they not want you to park it in the garage, they don’t want you to park it next to the garage if you can avoid it,” Olsen explained.

More than 3,000 Hyundai and Kia models under recall have been issued “Park Outside” warnings, as have multiple Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles.

Is my car affected?

CARFAX has a complete list of the vehicles facing “Do Not Drive” and “Park Outside” recalls on its website that you can check, as well as a free vehicle recall check tool. The NHTSA also has a tool that lets you check your car’s recall status by Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

If it turns out your car has an outstanding recall, Olsen recommends calling a brand-affiliated service shop as soon as possible to set up an appointment.

For “Do Not Drive” recalls, do not drive your vehicle to the dealership.

“We will get a tow truck, pick up the car, bring it to a dealership, and bring it to you,” Olsen said. “You can get it fixed completely for free.”

“Park Outside” recalls are still safe to drive, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to put off the repairs.

“There are obviously different levels of urgency,” Olsen added. “For most cases, you can still drive the car and you should get it fixed. For these cars in particular, I would look to make time as soon as you can.”

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