New York Senator Charles Schumer is calling for legislation that would ban rental car agencies from releasing cars recalled for safety reasons. That goes counter to a system proposed by the American Car Rental Association (ACRA), which would allow rental car agencies to determine the seriousness of the recall and remove cars from the rental fleet on a case-by-case basis.
Today, no legislation exists to police rental car agencies and their response to vehicle safety recalls, and a 2010 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study found that rental agencies repaired only half of recalled Chrysler and GM vehicles in a one-year period. Rental car companies dispute these findings, and claim that the data doesn’t factor in rental cars sold to new owners prior to the recall date.
Schumer’s legislation would require rental car agencies to operate the same way as automobile dealerships, which are banned from selling cars under recall until they’re repaired. He was critical of ARCA’s plan to allow each agency to determine the severity of each recall, saying that it would, “create a vague double standard that defines some recalled cars as safe and others as dangerous.”
Worse, Schumer felt that the ARCA proposal would allow rental car companies to, “shirk their responsibility to consumers’ safety.”
Addressing every single recall would undoubtedly cost rental car agencies a significant amount of money, which would ultimately be paid for by consumers in the form of higher rates. Still, the question begs asking: who do you trust more in regards to vehicle safety: the NHTSA, or a rental car company?