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Used Cars Slipping Past Recalls, Leading To Deaths on the Road

Defective product

On October 26th, the New York Times featured an article on how used cars are falling through the cracks when it comes to recall safeguards, placing many drivers in danger each year. Although consumers may believe that the Takata airbag disaster is over and done with, in fact, it claimed another life recently.

Cars that are sold in auctions and then from one person to another—or second, third, or fourth owners—have brought forth a category of drivers who face serious risks when it comes to deaths due to auto accidents in these vehicles. Although there are federal regulations mandating that certain protections be offered to buyers of new cars—as well as requiring that dealerships fix any safety recall issues—these same regulations unfortunately do not apply to used cars. This is a serious issue considering that, in 2015 alone, more than 38 million used cars were sold in the U.S.—twice as many as the number of new cars sold.

Unregulated Auctions

Auctions, in particular, are the least regulated means of selling cars, leading to high-risk vehicles ending up in the hands of vulnerable drivers every year. Many of the cars sold at auctions are there because dealerships are, themselves, uncomfortable directly selling these cars to consumers, and instead decide to sell them directly to dealerships that do not have such reservations.

In the death just last month, metal parts were propelled into the driver, who was driving a Honda, killing her, when the car’s airbag exploded upon impact. The car should not have been sold before the airbag was replaced at a Honda dealership or the defect was at least disclosed. Although Honda had supposedly sent out 20 recall notices since 2008 concerning these airbags, the car was resold at least three times since the initial recall, namely at auctions.

If you’ve purchased a Used Car

Recall information is available based on vehicle identification numbers in this government database. In addition, an auto safety hotline has been set up just to answer questions about recalled vehicles.

Although federal regulations on used cars are lacking, there are also sometimes state consumer protection laws that prohibit the sale of dangerous vehicles. Although in Florida there is no used car lemon law, you are covered by implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for the item’s particular purpose, and good title. Dealerships also cannot conceal material defects, as this can be considered as fraud, and automakers are required by law to put in effort to contact a car’s current owner to inform them of a recall.

Boca Raton Auto Accident Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been injured in a Boca Raton auto accident, contact our office for advice and representation from our auto accident attorneys. With over 180 years of combined personal injury/auto accident litigation experience, the Boca Raton auto accident attorneys at Lavalle, Brown & Ronan, P.A. work to provide the best protection possible to our Florida clients.  Contact us today.

For more information and in depth analysis, please contact Attorney Ken Ronan at and Case Manager Richard Bagdasarian at


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