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Used car dealers continue to sell vehicles with safety defects

Your trusted local auto dealership would never sell you a used vehicle that employees knew had a hidden defect and was subject to a safety recall, right?

Aren't there federal and state laws that prohibit that?

Even the most knowledgeable and careful auto consumer in Connecticut or elsewhere across the country might be stunned to learn that there is in fact no law -- at least in the federal realm -- that bars a dealer from selling a car with a known safety defect.

Moreover, a dealer bent on a sale doesn't even have to disclose that defect and tandem recall notice to a buyer.

That reality is obviously more than a bit chilling, given that unsuspecting consumers can drive happily away from a dealership while behind the wheel of a vehicle that could turn deadly at any second.

We ask readers to recollect for a moment the fallout from Takata air bags, which have been recalled in the scores of millions owing to at least 18 confirmed deaths caused by sudden bag deployment and hurtling shrapnel that flies into the faces of drivers and their passengers.

A recent independent review of listed used autos at multiple CarMax dealerships in several states found 45 cars for sale with recalled Takata bag inflators that had never been repaired. Hundreds of other cars had additional unremedied recall issues.

"We are demanding that state law enforcement officials crack down on … dealers who are engaging in these practices," says a principal with one of the safety groups that conducted research into the sheer dimensions of the nationwide undisclosed defect problem for consumers.

Notably, some national legislators who have tried to ban the practice of selling problem vehicles without disclosing safety issues have been stymied in the past by the aggressive lobbying efforts of auto dealerships.

Obviously, they need to push on. Without tough new laws being enacted, high numbers of dangerous vehicles will continue to be driven off of lots by consumers not having a clue that their new rides are hiding dangerous defects in dire need of imminent repair.

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