A newly introduced U.S. Senate bill would require completion of all relevant safety recall repairs to qualify a vehicle for legal registration in a state.
State agencies responsible for motor vehicle registration would verify compliance using the recall database maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A search of a vehicle’s VIN would indicate whether the vehicle was up-to-date with all safety recall remedies.
The bill, introduced by senators Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) is aimed at improving the nation’s vehicle recall completion rates. To download the bill, click here.
Studies estimate that only 65 percent of recalled vehicles get fixed within the first 18 months of being recalled, and one in every seven vehicles on American roadways – upwards of 34 million cars and trucks – has an unfixed recall problem, according to Markey’s office.
Completion rates for older vehicles are particularly low. One reason why is because automakers don’t always have accurate contact information for a vehicle’s current owner. Involving state DMVs could also improve recall notification rates.
“This legislation represents the three R’s of automotive safety: recall, repair, register,” Markey said. “We need to inform all vehicle owners of open safety recalls and ensure repairs get made quickly so our roads are kept safe. The RECALL Act will help prevent any more avoidable deaths from unrepaired recalls.”
Markey is a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
Last year, approximately 64 million vehicles were recalled in the U.S. The recalls addressed a range of defects, including those affecting some GM ignition switches and Takata air bags.
“Unrepaired safety defects endanger everyone on America’s roadways,” Blumenthal said. “Important recall notices can get bogged down with legalese, and busy consumers can miss a lifesaving update. This legislation provides a common-sense avenue to ensure every driver is reminded and encouraged to make the necessary repairs and keep unsafe cars off the roads.”
The legislation has drawn strong support from Honda North America and such organizations as Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety as well as the Center for Auto Safety.