As previously spotlighted in a Call Christina report, dealerships are allowed to sell used cars with unfixed recalls.

Given the record number of auto recalls in 2014, and the fact that used car purchases doubled new car/light truck purchases last year explains why the impact of this issue is so far-reaching.

Call Christina: Free, easy way to find unrepaired recalls on used vehicles

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) is looking to change that. He wants dealerships to be required to fix a recall on a used car just as they are required to do for new car purchases.

Nelson has tried to make this happen before but the legislative amendment was defeated earlier this year.

Speaking at Miami International Airport on Monday, Nelson discussed the letters he has penned to dealership associations who have opposed the change and stumped for auto safety reform.

“As Congress considers the highway bill, we will continue to push for legislation that would protect used car buyers from potentially unsafe recalled vehicles,” Nelson said in the Oct. 2 letters addressed to Peter Welch, president of National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and Steve Jordan, chief executive officer of the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association (NIADA).¬†

Nelson also makes a reference to AutoNation’s new policy to not sell, lease or wholesale any new or used vehicle that has an open safety recall. In a news release on the company’s website, the country’s largest automotive retailer describes the new policy as setting a new standard.

“There’s no way to expect that customers would or should know of every safety recall on every vehicle they might purchase, so we will ensure that our vehicles have all recalls completed,” said Mike Jackson, Chairman, CEO and President of AutoNation. “We make it our responsibility as a retailer to identify those vehicles and remove them from the market until their safety issues have been addressed.”

Nelson said NADA and NIADA oppose AutoNation’s new policy on used vehicles under recall.

“The overwhelming majority of recalls do not require or warrant the drastic step of grounding, and there is no evidence that a blanket grounding of all used vehicles with open recalls will make the roads or consumers any safer,” NADA spokesman Jared Allen told Local 10 News. “It would, however, severely depress the value of trade-ins with unremedied recalls, especially when parts aren’t available or whenever a consumer wants to trade in one make for another. This would cost consumers money, keep many stuck in older cars, and push more used cars into the private-sale market, making it less likely that those vehicles ever get fixed.”

“NADA supports a 100 percent recall completion rate, but achieving that requires policies that focus on consumer empowerment, not policies that are overly broad, harmful to consumers and ultimately counterproductive,” Allen said.

Read: Letters to dealership associations sent by Sen. Bill Nelson.

“Three million cars in Florida have at least one unfixed safety recall,” said Chris Basso of CARFAX. “One of the biggest surprises to us, according to our data, one of out every three minivans has an unfixed recall. That is the highest rate of any vehicle type that is out there and those are the vehicles that people are trucking their kids around in every single day. And many of those are potentially ticking time bombs.¬† Another surprise is just how many people don’t know there are recalls on their car. They discarded the letter. They never got one because maybe they moved, or just bought the car and were never told.”

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports 2014 had the highest number of vehicle recalls in more than three decades. There were 803 recalls involving 63.9 million vehicles to include two of the largest 10 vehicle recalls in history.

This year has seen the expansion of the Takata airbag recall efforts, which the NHTSA has described as the largest and most complicated recall in history.

Call Christina: Takata airbag recall could expand to 7 more companies.

Eight people have died worldwide and more than a 100 people have been hurt due to the defective airbag that explodes under pressure spewing metal fragments.

The NHTSA sent letters to Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar-Land Rover, Suzuki, Tesla, Volvo Trucks, Volkswagen and Spartan Motors seeking information on which models have Takata inflators.

“It is expected that the scope of the current Takata recalls may expand as time goes on and will likely grow to include vehicles that are outside the scope of the current recalls,” the letters said.

NHTSA continues to investigate which manufacture models have Takata inflators and get a handle on how many more vehicles might have to be recalled.

So far, the recall has involved 19 million vehicles from 12 auto manufacturers.

Later this month in Washington, D.C., the agency will host a public meeting at the U.S. Department of Transportation to discuss the ongoing investigation “and possible actions that could aid in prioritizing, organizing, and phasing the multiple recalls to remedy defective Takata air bag inflators.”

Steph Stephaniedrury of tells Local 10 News that total used car sales for 2014 were 35.91 million whereas total new car and light trucks for 2014 stood at 16.52 million.

Under current federal law, car rental companies can rent you a car without first repairing an open recall.

Call Christina Resources:

Call Christina: Free, easy way to find unrepaired recalls on used vehicles

What to know about buying new, used vehicles

Understanding Florida’s ‘lemon law’

VIDEO: Running a title search on a used car

AG’s Office: How to Protect Yourself: Buying a Used Car

Follow Christina  Vazquez on Twitter @CallChristinaTV

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