Safe Rental Car Act Introduced

March 15, 2011

Back in November AllCarAdvice reported on Senator Charles Schumer's very pointed letter to the FTC about requiring car rental companies to promptly repair recalled vehicles within their fleets. If the FTC "can't or won't act, congress will" was his statement in November.

Earlier this month his Safe Rental Car Act followed through on that promise when it was introduced to the U.S. Senate. The senator has said that he wants the same regulations that apply to car dealers to be required of car rental agencies. According to the Yeshiva World News auto dealers cannot sell a vehicle until all outstanding safety issues have been resolved.

A NHTSA study seems to reinforce the need for such a law since that administration found that the GM and Chrysler vehicles followed within the rental fleet often linger unrepaired beyond 90 days. The data showed that Hertz repaired 34 percent, Avis/Budget 53 percent and Enterprise 65 percent during that three month period. Recalls issued between 2006 and 2010 by the two automakers were tracked.

The Los Angeles Times reported that five car rental companies have disputed the NHTSA study saying that the automaker' numbers are flawed. The paper said that Enterprise told the safety administration that for one GM recall in 2010 their performance was much better--a 72 percent resolution rate in just 30 days and after 90 days 93 percent of the recalls had been repaired.

The math is important since the NHTSA study would mean that the rental of vehicles with open recalls is widespread and would represent a serious danger to unsuspecting drivers.

The issue has been covered broadly by a number of types of media in the aftermath of a $15 million court award to the parents of two sisters who died when their 2004 PT Cruiser crashed with a tractor trailer due to a power steering fluid leak which was under a recall. The car had been rented from an Enterprise Rent-A-Car agency in California. In June AllCarAdvice covered the issue in Recalls Should Be Resolved Promptly.

The Schumer legislation has a parochial slant to it as well, since there are 183 car rental agencies in the five boroughs of New York City and on Long Island. But the overriding issue is safety according to the senator, "We need to keep these cars off of New York roads until they are fixed, and the Safe Rental Car Act will make sure that's exactly what happens."

[Schumer-Announces-Effort-To-Keep-Unsafe-Rental-Cars-Off-The-Road.html">Yeshiva World News & LA Times]

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