Washington (March 22, 2024) - Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced legislation to ensure the safety and reliability of used cars. The legislation, the Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act, requires car dealers to repair any outstanding safety recalls in used cars prior to selling, leasing, or loaning them to consumers. Current federal law does not prohibit car dealers from selling cars with open recalls, threatening the safety of everyone on the road. The Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act addresses this gap in consumer protections and better safeguards car buyers who often believe they are purchasing a vehicle with safety assurances.

“Whether a car is brand new or used, nobody should be at risk of purchasing an unsafe car,” said Markey. “And it doesn’t matter if a car is still on the lot or in a driveway, it needs to be made safe. I am proud to work alongside Senators Blumenthal and Warren on this important legislation to ensure unrepaired cars, subject to an outstanding recall, remain off our roads. Let’s close this loophole so that drivers, passengers, and pedestrians are safe once and for all.” 

“This bill makes sure that used cars with dangerous defects are repaired before they are driven on our roads,” said Blumenthal. “While many people believe the used cars they are purchasing are safe and reliable, that is all too often not the case. The Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act closes this glaring safety loophole, ensuring consumers have peace of mind when they get behind the wheel.” 

With over 35 million used cars purchased in the United States in 2023, bolstering the safety of used cars remains an increasingly pressing issue. The Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act prevents the sale of used vehicles with safety defects by prohibiting auto dealers from selling, leasing, or loaning vehicles with unrepaired open recalls to consumers.

To ensure that open recalls are repaired, the Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act incentivizes auto dealers to swiftly repair recalls by allowing them to sell recalled vehicles to other dealers who have the ability to fix the defects instead of sitting in their lots. The legislation also requires manufacturers to provide dealers with parts to repair safety defects within 60 days or reimburse dealers if the manufacturers cannot provide the necessary parts.


"No one should have to worry when they buy a car from a dealership that the dealer is deliberately selling them a hazardous, defective recalled deathtrap -- whether it's new or used. Senator Blumenthal's bill is crucial for helping protect America's used car buyers and their families from suffering devastating injuries or being killed. While used car buyers and their surviving family members do have important rights under state laws, those may not kick in unless someone has suffered damages or died. We still need NHTSA to be able to crack down on dealers who violate federal law, to help prevent tragedies from happening," said Rosemary Shahan, President of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety.

“Millions of unrepaired and dangerous recalled vehicles are operated on America’s roads every day, threatening drivers, passengers and other road users. The widespread practice of selling these dangerous vehicles without first fixing obvious and identified safety hazards unacceptably shifts the burden from manufacturers and used car sellers onto the party least equipped to address the danger – the consumer. The Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act incentivizes manufacturers to get recall repairs completed quickly and protects everyone on the road by closing the federal loophole permitting the sale of unrepaired recalled used cars,” said Michael Brooks, Executive Director of Center for Auto Safety

William Wallace, associate director of safety policy for Consumer Reports, said, "At the bare minimum, people should be able to trust that a used car they're buying is not coming to them with known, unrepaired safety defects—and right now, that's not assured. Consumer Reports strongly supports the Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act. We urge every member of Congress to support the bill and press for it to become law expeditiously."

“Many consumers will never buy a new car, and second-hand cars should not mean second-rate safety. An unrepaired safety recall can put road users at risk of death or injury, yet these tragic occurrences can be prevented by repair before resale. We commend Senators Richard Blumenthal, Ed Markey, and Elizabeth Warren, for reintroducing the Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act which ensures commonsense actions to keep vehicles with unrepaired recalls off the roads,” said Tara Gill, Senior Director, Federal and State Government Relations, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

"This bill will put the brakes on the sale of dangerous used cars," said Deirdre Cummings, MASSPIRG's legislative director. "Consumers, rightly so, have the expectation that when shopping at used car dealerships they are being sold safe cars, and at the very least, they certainly would not expect for sale any car that is still under a safety recall." 

“New cars can’t be sold with an open recall, why should used cars be an exception?  This bill is important to close the gap on safety and protect buyers,” says longtime safety advocate Sean Kane, of Safety Research & Strategies.

The full text of the bill can be found here.