Bipartisan legislation introduced in the House March 26 would require the federal government to immediately remedy any recall on its fleet of over 200,000 vehicles prior to leasing those vehicles to another agency or selling them to the public.
An investigation into the vehicles owned by the General Services Administration, which manages a large portion of the federal fleet, found that 25,000 government cars have open safety recalls and 637 of the cars sold to the public were under recall.
The Shielding All Federal Employees and Consumers from Actionable Recall Situations Act, or the SAFE CARS Act, would require the managing agency to remedy all actionable recalls prior to leasing or sale and mandate that any agency currently in the middle of a lease for a vehicle under recall remedy the defect themselves.
“The presence of recalled cars on the road is dangerous to drivers and to everyone around them which makes it inexcusable that the federal government is facilitating these risks by continuing to sell and lease such vehicles,” said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., one of the bill’s sponsors.
“That’s why I’m introducing the SAFE CARS Act to ensure that our government prioritizes the safety of federal employees and the public by not selling or leasing vehicles under recall.”
The legislation has both Democratic and Republican support in the House.
“This bill will better protect federal workers and the general public by requiring federal agencies to service vehicles in their fleets with recalls before they are allowed back on public roads. I hope our colleagues will join us in supporting this commonsense legislation that will enhance motor vehicle safety for federal employees and consumers across our nation,” said Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., a cosponsor of the bill.
Vehicle recall repairs are free to the user, meaning that the government would not have to pay additional funds to ensure that a vehicle is safe, merely delay its use for the time it takes to have the car serviced.
“There is no reason for a federal employee to be in a government-owned vehicle that has outstanding manufacturer recalls,” said National Treasury Employees Union National President Tony Reardon in a statement.
“We agree that the General Services Administration should ensure the maintenance of its vehicles is as up to date as possible.”
In addition to support from federal employee unions like NTEU and the American Federation of Government Employees, the bill also has backing from several road safety organizations.
Jessie Bur covers federal IT and management.