State Senate Passes Legislation on Automobile Recall Notices

The New York State Senate today approved legislation (S4296B), sponsored by Senator Betty Little (R-C-I, Queensbury), that would require registered automobile owners to be notified of any manufacturer recalls during their annual motor vehicle inspection.

Senator Little said, “The annual vehicle inspection is an ideal time to run a simple computer check to see if there are any recall notices. The database of vehicle recalls already exists. This is simply a matter of making the nexus between our inspection stations, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and the federal database and providing that information to the consumer. The goal of this legislation is simply to strengthen consumer protection by enhancing motor vehicle safety notification throughout New York State.” 

If the official inspection station finds that the motor vehicle is the subject of a safety recall, the owner would be notified in writing on the Vehicle Inspection Report that the automobile may be repaired at an authorized manufacturer dealer at no charge. As some car owners may ignore the recall notices they receive, the annual inspection would serve as an opportunity to remind them of a recall needing attention.

A federal database,, makes information about manufacturer recalls available for free online, but requiring a check during an inspection would better ensure that vehicle owners are made aware of the potentially lifesaving information. 

According to figures released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, automakers issued a record number of more than 800 recalls for over 64 million vehicles in 2014. Car manufacturers are required to issue notices of a safety recall to the original owner, but it is more difficult to notify owners who have purchased a pre-owned vehicle, particularly through a third-party, known as a casual sale. 

The legislation would also require the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to promote and provide notice to consumers of the availability of information on motor vehicle safety recalls. 

The bill has been sent to the Assembly, where it is sponsored by Assemblyman Michael DenDekker (A6247).