Recalled Rental Cars–a Continuing Problem

A while back, we reported that rental car agencies regularly lease recalled cars without fixing the underlying safety issue behind the recall.

As we explained in our earlier post, last August, 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.

Now, federal legislation is being considered 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.

The bill was introduced by Senator Charles Schumer. As explained in this LA Times article, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently conducted a study that supports this legislation:

Schumer also pointed to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that is still underway. Looking at 10 recalls by General Motors and Chrysler from 2006 to 2010, the study showed:

Hertz Rent-a-Car fixed only 34% of its vehicles affected by those recalls within 90 days. Avis Car Rental and Budget Rent a Car fixed 53% and Enterprise fixed 65% in the same time frame.

“The study suggests that tens of thousands of rental car drivers have unknowingly rented vehicles under recall, posing a serious threat to safety on the roadway,” Schumer said in a statement this month when he offered his bill, the Safe Rental Car Act.

Not surprisingly, the car rental agencies oppose this legislation, claiming that the data used in the study is inaccurate.

Nevertheless, requiring rental car agencies to keep recalled cars off the road simply makes sense. Unsuspecting customers shouldn’t have their lives placed at risk simply for the convenience and profit of rental car agencies. Safety should always come first. Hopefully, this legislation 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.