Letter to the Editor of USA TODAY: Ensure car safety with help from the DMV
Honda North America EVP Rick Schostek has been a prominent voice during the Takata airbag inflator recall and testified before Congress several times. In his most recent efforts, Schostek penned a letter to USA TODAY, advocating new ways to get recalls fixed on used vehicles. Below is his letter to the editor:
USA TODAY's article "Used car dealers won't fix fatal flaws," on the failure of used auto dealers to fix safety defects before sale, highlights an important problem – there are millions of vehicles on the road with unrepaired safety defects. But our industry needs help in making sure owners know the vehicle has a lurking safety problem.
By law, automakers must fix those cars for free, and we willingly meet that obligation. The problem is that owners are not required to bring their cars in for repair, and when a used car is sold, the new owner may be unaware that the safety defect exists.
As USA TODAY points out, used car dealers could be required to repair safety defects before selling them (it is illegal for our dealers to sell a new car with a defect). But many cars change hands in private transactions. Therefore, the best solution would be for Departments of Motor Vehicles to be required to refuse to register a vehicle with an outstanding recall until it is fixed. This benefits not just the new owner, but also any passengers in the car and other drivers and pedestrians sharing the road.
Also, when insurance companies send premium notices and invoices to their insureds, they should identify any outstanding recalls. The auto industry has developed a new tool that identifies the recall status of any vehicle. It's free and can be programmed to produce the information in a matter of seconds.
Automakers want to fix defects. But we need help in finding and warning owners who may not be aware.
Honda North America EVP