This article provides a simple solution to make sure that recalls are done by owners of recalled vehicle. The problem is that only about 20% of the vehicles recalled have the repairs done, even though the manufacturer is paying for it. Consequently 80% of recalls are not being done, and therefore those unsafe vehicles are still on the road. An Easy fix is suggested by Joan Claybrook, the head if the NHTSA. The fix is to simply require the states to make any vehicle being registered to prove it has had all the recalls done. This is easily done because the recalls are listed online. Every state would have to pass laws to require this.
This seems like a good start, but it is possible that consumers get caught in the middle. Unless the legislation also requires that dealers acquiring used vehicles get any open recalls repaired prior to reselling or leasing the vehicles. There wold also need ot be a readily availible system for checking the status of a vehicle by VIN, such as the NMVTIS system, since safety inspections would not necessarily show any recalls that have not been performed. This would also greatly incread the cost of compliance.
Compliance in general could also be improved if manufacturers were required to provide loaners or rental reimbursement for owners -- I'm sure some people don't "bother" with the recalls because they have no other way to get to work and cannot afford a rental.
Read the article I responded to here.