Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Edward Markey introduced legislation Wednesday to ensure used vehicles with unrepaired safety recalls cannot legally be sold, leased or loaned without being fixed.
The Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act would require used-vehicle dealers to repair any outstanding safety recalls before selling, leasing or loaning them to customers.
"Consumers shouldn't be sold or leased used cars with unrepaired safety issues," Blumenthal said in a statement. "This bill will ensure auto dealers repair dangerous and defective used cars before letting their customers drive them off the lot and onto our roads."
Blumenthal, of Connecticut, and Markey, of Massachusetts, have pushed for several auto industry safety measures in recent years.
Federal law doesn't prohibit dealers from selling vehicles with outstanding recalls, though some state laws do.
"Vehicles with unrepaired recalls are unsafe for drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and everyone on the road," Jason Levine, executive director of Center for Auto Safety, said in a statement. "Whether the vehicle was purchased new or used the danger is the same from non-deploying or exploding airbags, ignition switch failures causing a loss of motive power, or preventable vehicle fires. We are glad the Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act will address this unnecessary loophole millions of unsafe used cars fall through every year."
The proposed legislation comes as the auto industry continues to grapple with the recall of some 100 million potentially lethal airbag inflators supplied to 19 auto brands by the former Takata Corp. It is the largest recall in automotive history.
Some 24 fatalities and 290 injuries have been linked to the inflators, which can cause airbags to explode with too much force and shoot shrapnel inside the passenger compartment.