2007 Chevrolet Cobalt SSEnlarge Photo
An article in the L.A. Times reports that Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) has proposed a bill in California that would require used-car dealers to have a vehicle’s recall addressed before it can be sold to a consumer. This law would potentially be very important since many of the recent recalls – especially the General Motors ignition switch – apply to cars that are more than a decade old. The report says a study shows that of the vehicles recalled in 2008, only 42 percent from the 2000 model year had the repairs performed while 79 percent of 2008 model year vehicles were repaired.
If passed, dealers would not be allowed to sell vehicles in their used inventory until the recall repair has been performed. A similar law has been proposed on the federal level as part of the $302-billion Grow America Act, which also focuses on only dealer-owned cars but would be mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
While this might sound like critical step toward keeping some unrepaired, potentially dangerous cars away from unwitting buyers, there is indeed opposition to the bill. Primarily, it's because the new law wouldn't apply to private vehicle sales or to the renting of cars. The California New Car Dealers Association, one group opposing the bill, takes issue in how used-car dealers are being directly targeted, while other avenues for consumers to buy or operate used cars remain in place.
The importance of such a law will be even more crucial this year as the 14 million vehicles that have been recalled so far in 2014 are on pace to break the 2004 record of 30,8 million vehicles.