New California Rental Car Recall Bill First of its Kind

In past posts, we’ve reported that rental car agencies regularly lease recalled cars without fixing the underlying safety issue behind the recall. There have been a number of attempts to fix this problem.

First, in August of 2010, two consumer groups filed a joint petition with the FTC, asking that the FTC investigate the situation and require that Enterprise Rent-a-Car, one of the largest car rental agencies in the U.S., refrain from renting cars  that are subject to safety recalls  and have not yet been repaired.

And then, in March of this year, Senator Charles Schumer introduced federal legislation that would require rental agencies to immediately remove from circulation all recalled cars. Once fixed, the cars would then be able to be rented again.

Now, the State of California is taking a stab at remedying this troubling situation. As reported in this CBS San Francisco article, last week the California Assembly passed a bill aimed at reducing the number of recalled rental cars on the road:

One house of the California Legislature on Thursday narrowly approved the nation’s first law to force rental car companies to pull vehicles off the road after a safety recall…

The Assembly passed the bill Thursday on a 42-26 vote, one more than the simple majority needed. It now goes to the Senate.

As has been the case elsewhere, rental car agencies strongly opposed the legislation. However, despite their disagreement with this bill, it simply makes sense to require rental car agencies to keep recalled cars off the road. Safety should always trump the convenience and profit of rental car agencies. Hopefully, this legislation and the other measures that we’ve discussed in the past will be passed, automobile accidents involving recalled rental cars will be prevented and lives will be saved.

Howard Ankin of Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handles  workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 600-0000 and howard@ankinlaw.com.