There are more than 46 million vehicles on U.S. roads, with Carfax reporting about 20%, or 1 in 5, that have open recalls. California was reported to have 4.9 million open recalls, Texas 4.1 million open recalls, and Florida only half as many recalls. The NHTSA said that in the first 9 months of 2015 there were about 26,000 fatal car accidents on U.S. roads, 9 % higher than the previous year and the highest since 2008. While 94% of all car accidents are credited to human error, with defects like shrapnel propelling airbags (Takata Honda recall), the problem becomes much clearer.
Dealers and sellers take advantage of the many loopholes hiding recalls from potential vehicle owners. While owners are required to be notified within 60 days of recall by the car company, no laws are in place for dealers to repair new vehicles. In addition, there are no laws in place requiring past owners to inform potential buyers of any recalls or repairs made on the vehicle. Used car dealerships used this loophole to bypass legislation, claiming lack of access to information. This was rectified with a new website program that allows anyone with the 17 digit vehicle identification number (VIN) to look up open recalls.
Last year both the AutoNation CEO and an Executive for Honda gave voice to laws that would require recall repairs before new cars could be sold and before license plates could be renewed.