Markey & Blumenthal Introduce Legislation to Ensure Safety Recalls Are More Quickly Completed
Legislation would require state DMVs inform vehicle owners of recalls to ensure timely repairs
Washington (March 2, 2015) – It was a year of record motor vehicle safety recalls in 2014, with approximately 64 million vehicle recalls and service campaigns due to potentially deadly safety defects, including the GM ignition switch and Takata exploding airbag defects. In response to this deadly wave of accidents and recalls, Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) today introduced legislation that would require state Departments of Motor Vehicles and state motor vehicle registration agencies to notify vehicle owners of open safety recalls to help ensure that owners get the safety recalls remedied. The Repairing Every Car to Avoid Lost Lives (RECALL) Act is similar to requirements to obtain emissions testing or insurance prior to registration or registration renewal by many states, and it is an effective way to ensure that vehicle owners are aware of and comply with their safety recalls. 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.
“This legislation represents the three R’s of automotive safety: recall, repair, register,” said Senator Markey, a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “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. I thank Senator Blumenthal for his partnership on this legislation and look forward to continuing to work with Chairman Thune and our colleagues to enact strong auto safety legislation to protect American families.”
“Unrepaired safety defects endanger everyone on America’s roadways. Important recall notices can get bogged down with legalese, and busy consumers can miss a lifesaving update,” said Senator Blumenthal. “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.”
A copy of the RECALL Act can be found HERE.
“Senators Markey and Blumenthal’s initiative will help us all achieve the critical goal of completing 100 percent of every automotive recall campaign in America. We believe the process of vehicle registration is a logical point to require an additional check for any open safety recalls in order to ensure that repairs are completed,” said Rick Schostek, Executive Vice President of Honda North America, Inc. “When it comes to ensuring that safety-related recalls are completed, automakers, government and concerned citizens need to work together to protect drivers, passengers and others on the road. Everyone has an important stake in making sure these vehicles are repaired.”
“Based on my personal experience, I am committed to finding ways to make certain that every vehicle owner is aware of and addresses open recalls,” said Stephanie Erdman, a Florida resident who was seriously injured in 2002 by a Takata airbag inflator. “This proposal significantly increases the likelihood this will occur.”
The RECALL Act:
- Requires motor vehicle owners to be informed of outstanding recalls on their vehicles at the same time the DMV sends out a registration renewal reminder, or, for a new registration, at the same time the DMV sends out the proof of registration documentation; and
- Requires motor vehicle owners to complete all safety recalls before renewing their registration. Exception include if: (1) the vehicle owner wasn’t notified of the recall when the registration renewal reminder came out, (2) the manufacturer lacks the parts or labor to complete the recall, or (3) the vehicle owner demonstrates that he/she had no reasonable opportunity to fulfill the recall, in which case the DMV can grant a temporary registration of up to 60 days.
The RECALL Act is also endorsed by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Center for Auto Safety, Consumer Federation of America, Honda North America, and Trauma Foundation.
In January, Senators Markey and Blumenthal, along with Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida), wrote the head of NHTSA asking for an update on the status of the Takata airbag recall, especially the speed at which replacement parts are being made available for repairs.
Last year, Senators Markey and Blumenthal introduced the Early Warning Reporting System Improvement Act, which would require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to make the information it receives from auto manufacturers publicly available in a searchable, user-friendly format so that consumers and independent safety experts can evaluate potential safety defects themselves.