Blumenthal, Markey, & Schakowski Introduce Bicameral Legislation to Require Used Car Dealers Repair Safety Defects, Recalls Before Selling

Legislation would close used car dealer loophole that poses large safety-risk to drivers, passengers

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Ct) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced legislation to ensure used vehicles containing recalled, unsafe parts are repaired before being sold or leased. Dealers are currently allowed to sell or lease cars with outstanding recalls despite the incredible risk posed to the safety of everyone on roadways.

It was reported yesterday that another driver was killed in a crash involving a Takata airbag. If confirmed, this would be the thirteenth fatality caused by a Takata airbag in the United States. At least four of the deaths caused by Takata airbags involved used cars.

“This commonsense bill will protect used car buyers from driving a ticking time bomb off the lot and onto our roads,” Blumenthal said. “There are now more than 64 million cars and trucks on our nation’s roads with unrepaired safety recalls. Whenever one of those cars changes hands without the repair of its defects, avoidable safety problems are also being passed along, increasing the dangers to motorists and other passengers.”

“Whether a car is brand new or used, we need to make sure that all cars are safe before they leave the lot. We need to do that when a recall is announced, when a car is sold, and when drivers go to register their cars. I thank Senator Blumenthal for his continued partnership on this legislation and efforts to keep our roads and drivers safe,” Markey said.

“The best thing we can do to get recalled cars off the road is fix the problem before the car is on the road,” said Schakowsky. “It’s already illegal to sell a new car or offer for rent a car under recall. Our bill will give used car buyers the simple assurance that known defects have been fixed before you drive the car off the lot.”

The Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act requires used car dealers to repair any outstanding safety recalls in used automobiles prior to selling or leasing. While manufacturers and new car dealers are prohibited from selling vehicles containing recalled parts, there is no current law prohibiting used car dealers from selling or leasing vehicles containing dangerous parts. The legislation addresses the unacceptable gap in consumer protection that confuses car buyers who believe they are buying a product with safety assurances, and threatens the lives of everyone on our country’s roadways.

The legislation introduced in the House of Representatives is also co-sponsored by U.S. Representatives Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Bobby Rush (D-IL), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), and Doris Matsui (D-CA).

“We applaud Senators Blumenthal and Markey for their leadership in working to ensure that consumers who purchase used cars from dealers get the same protections as consumers who purchase new cars, or rent or buy them from rental car companies with fleets of more than 35 vehicles.  This legislation would add vitally important federal protection and enforcement, to existing state consumer protection laws. When a car is so defective it is being recalled for safety repairs, it should be fixed before it leaves the lot,” said Rosemary Shahan, President of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety.