US Legislators Move To Ban Sales Of Unsafe Used Cars

US senators Richard Blumenthal, Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren have introduced a federal bill called the Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act to close a loophole allowing car dealers to sell used vehicles with open safety recalls.

Under the legislation, dealers would be forced to repair these cars before they are sold, leased, or loaned to consumers. However, they could sell recalled vehicles at wholesale prices to other dealers who have the ability to fix the defects. The legislation will also establish a reimbursement programme to hold vehicle manufacturers accountable if they fail to provide dealers with parts to repair safety defects within 60 days.

“This bill will ensure that car dealers repair dangerous and defective used cars before they drive on our roads,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, one of the legislation’s sponsors. “Americans deserve peace of mind that they are buying safe cars from car dealers, yet too many used cars today are sold or leased with known and unrepaired safety issues. This measure will close this unacceptable safety loophole and protect drivers and the public from hazardous cars.”

The Act is supported by a number of automotive safety and consumer groups, including Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, Consumer Federation of America, Center for Auto Safety, Consumer Reports, Consumer Action, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, MASSPIRG, US PIRG, Safety Research and Strategies, The Trauma Foundation, Public Citizen, and Americans for Financial Reform.

Jack Gillis, Executive Director and CEO of the Consumer Federation of America, said no product should be sold with a known defect, especially a vehicle. “Three out of four car buyers buy used vehicles. Thanks to Senators Blumenthal, Markey, and Warren, these consumers, who may not be able to afford to buy new, will be protected from vehicles with dangerous recalls,” he said.

More than 40 million used vehicles are purchased in the US annually – more than double new car sales. In recent years, safety recall defects have included risk of fire, defective brakes, loss of steering, and exploding Takata airbags.

Blumenthal and Markey have previously attempted to get such legislation enacted into US federal law, making attempts in 2015 and 2017.