Recently, two U.S. senators introduced a bill that would force states to require car owners to have safety related recall repairs performed on their vehicle before renewing its license tags. This would also likely mean a car could not be resold without having repairs related to safety recalls completed. The bill, by Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, would require state motor-vehicle departments to inform car owners of any incomplete recall repairs when mailing out renewal forms, and would deny registrations until recalls are completed.

In a recent statement, the lawmakers said that only about 65% of recalled vehicles are repaired within 18 months. About 46 million cars with unfixed safety flaws were on the road at the end of 2014, with as many as 5 million changing owners during the year, according to Carfax Inc. “This legislation represents the three R’s of automotive safety: recall, repair, register,” Markey, a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said recently in a statement. “We need to inform all vehicle owners of open safety recalls and ensure repairs get made quickly so our roads are kept safe.

The legislation is supported by Honda Motor Co., which has recalled more cars with defective Takata Corp. airbag inflators than any other automaker. Vehicle registration is a logical point to check for pending recalls, said Rick Schostek, Honda North America’s executive vice president. The bill would require that repairs be completed before a car is registered, unless parts aren’t yet available or the owner hasn’t had a reasonable chance to complete the repair. In those situations, a temporary 60-day registration would be allowed. The risk of unrepaired safety defects was highlighted in January when a fender-bender turned deadly for a Texas man because of a defective airbag that had been recalled three years earlier and never fixed.