Government Regulators Seek New Laws to Ensure Rental Car Companies Fix Recalled Cars

By: Allan M. Siegel

As of today, there is no law that requires rental car companies to address manufacturer recalls immediately. That means a rental car company can receive notice of a recall on a vehicle, but not take any action for months or even years. For example, say a private owner receives notice that their personal car has a recall for defective airbags manufactured by the Takata Corporation. You take it to your local dealer and they repair and replace the defective airbags. However, if you were to rent the same car from a rental company, you probably would not even think about the recalled airbag. Unfortunately, if you were in an accident with that rental car – the airbag may have never been repaired or replaced.Auto Recall Injury

These circumstances are why the NHTSA is making a renewed push for legislation that would require rental car companies and used-car dealerships to address recalls immediately. As an example of why this legislation is needed, advocates point to the case of two sisters who were killed in California after their rental car caught fire and caused them to collide with a tractor trailer, despite there being a recall for a leak in the power steering hose that increased the risk of fire, but had not been repaired by the rental car agency. The legislation would prevent rental car companies and used-car dealerships from selling or renting vehicles until they are repaired. A similar bill was proposed in 2013 but did not pass. Rental car companies have actually come out in support of the legislation, but auto manufacturers have opposed it, arguing that it would slow down sales. The manufacturers also fear that it could expose them to more lawsuits filed by rental car companies trying to hold the manufacturers responsible for losses incurred because of required recall repairs.

These types of laws already apply to new car dealers, although it is still important to verify that all recalls are repaired before purchasing a vehicle, and they should apply to rental and used cars too. The automobile accident attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., have helped many victims harmed during preventable auto accidents, including accidents involving defective auto parts. If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of a defective automobile, contact us today for a free consultation today.