Safety Advocates Press the Federal Government to Stop Selling Cars with Open Safety Recalls

Safety Advocates Press the Federal Government to Stop Selling Cars with Open Safety Recalls

Auto safety advocacy groups are calling on the federal government to stop selling cars with open recalls, which they say puts drivers at risk. As reported by NBC4, the heated debate over how best protect America’s drivers continues-but this time we’re not talking about new car technology or even speeding laws; instead there is one issue above all others when buying any type vehicle which needs addressing: open car recalls.

The strong demand in the used car market is causing safety advocates to call for new measures that will halt sales of these vehicles. They are turning their attention away from dealers looking at this problem and onto an unlikely source: federal government.

The General Services Administration (GSA) offloads thousands of cars each year–including hundreds with open safety recalls. The GSA, which oversees the federal government’s fleet and discloses any recall to potential sellers but safety advocates say that’s just not enough.

The US Government owns over 725 thousand vehicles in total (not just those from their own fleets) but if you’re looking for a specific make or model on these records it can be quite difficult as some agencies may list them under different names depending upon what makes more sense at time when filing an FOIA request.

“Disclosure doesn’t fix the danger, generally speaking, when the government is selling you something, even if they’re disclosing it, there’s a general perception that it can’t be too dangerous.”

Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety

The GSA is not required to fix the cars before selling them, and there’s often no remedy available. But selling them to the public passes a potentially dangerous problem to not just the buyer, but any subsequent owner as the vehicle changes hands, according to a former NHTSA defects investigator.

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Democrat from Illinois who serves as chairman of the House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, has recently introduced legislation that would prohibit the GSA from selling cars with open safety recalls. 

“It’s beyond me why they wouldn’t want these cars fixed,” he said. “Maybe there’s some inconvenience associated with it, but that’s an inconvenience they have to accommodate.”

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi

He called for the GSA to develop a system for the agency to send applicable cars to a dealership for repair before selling them to the public. 

There is no risk quite like buying a used car. Even if you’re savvy and knowledgeable, there’s always the chance that something will go wrong with your purchase. Buyer beware.

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Last Updated on December 15, 2021

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