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Is the auto recall system in the U.S. in need of an overhaul?

Thanks to the hectic pace of everyday life -- work, school, errands, etc. -- the last thing most people want to do is sort through a stack of mail that likely contains all sorts of unwelcome correspondence from bills to advertisements.

As such, it's not uncommon for mail to sit unopened on kitchen counters or office desks for days or weeks at a time.

While this isn't necessarily the end of the world, there is nevertheless the possibility that this stack of mail could include a letter from an auto manufacturer warning the recipient that their vehicle is the subject of a recall for a potentially dangerous auto defect.

In fact, there is also the possibility that once a person actually gets around to opening this letter that they decide not to take immediate action, perhaps figuring they will get it taken care of at their next service appointment or when their otherwise busy schedule permits.

If you have a hard time believing that this is the reality, consider that statistics from the consumer safety advocacy group the Center for Auto Safety show that only about 70 percent of recalled vehicles are ever repaired and that the rate is considerably worse -- 50- 60 percent -- for older vehicles.

Compounding this major problem, say experts, is that many vehicles that have not undergone these necessary recall-related repairs can still be sold and registered.

By way of illustration, consider a recent tragedy in Pennsylvania, where a young person lost their life in a car accident thanks to the now-infamous Takata airbag recall. Reports indicate that the car in question was purchased from a third party in July, and that repeated attempts by the automaker to notify the previous owner and the current owner by letter were unsuccessful.

According to critics, stories like these only serve to demonstrate how the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration needs to take steps to increase the speed with which recalls take place and improve the urgency with which drivers are notified. Indeed, statistics show that nearly 75 percent of the 19 million vehicles subject to the Takata recall have yet to be fixed.

"The identification of yet another preventable death -- this time a young boy and well after when this safety defect was first made known -- reiterates the urgent need for swift recall of all cars with these potentially defective airbags," wrote Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), and Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts) in a joint statement.

Here's hoping we see the necessary actions take place.

If you been seriously injured or lost a loved one because of what you believe to be an auto defect, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.

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