Rental Car Accidents Could be Deadly Due to Car Recall Policies

December 31, 1969

The Car Connection recently reported on an important bill being considered by the U.S. Senate. This Bill would impose new requirements on automakers and rental car companies related to recalled vehicles. A similar bill was proposed but did not pass last year. 1198014_motorway.jpg

Our Los Angeles car accident attorneys know that the current laws do not require rental car companies to stop renting out recalled vehicles. Unfortunately, this means that people who rent cars are at greater risk of accidents occurring in their rented vehicles and are also in danger of experiencing more serious injuries when accidents happen. It is important that the law make rental car companies responsible for ensuring that customers renting cars don't take their lives into their hands due to potential vehicle defects.

Proposed Rental Car Law Could Reduce Car Accident Risk

The United States Congress is currently considering the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safety Rental Car Act of 2013. This Act would require that car rental companies park recalled vehicles and stop renting those vehicles as soon as news of a recall is received. Car companies recall vehicles when a problem with the vehicle develops that could result in risk of injury or death to drivers or motorists.

Currently, rental car companies can rent out vehicles even after car manufacturers have sent notice of a recall due to a defect. This policy can lead to devastating consequences. In fact, the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safety Rental Car Act of 2013 is named for two sisters who lost their lives in a California car accident in a rental vehicle.

The sisters rented a car that had been recalled due to a leak that could spark a fire in the car's engine. The girls, tragically, were killed in a fire that started in the car. If the rental car company had responded to the recall and parked the vehicle so it could not be rented when the recall notice came in the prior month, then the fire might never have happened.

If the new law passes, rental car companies won't have the choice about whether to park the vehicle. They will not be permitted to rent cars to the public with defects that led to vehicle recalls. This seems like a basic common sense law, and the President of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety indicated to AOL Autos that most people would likely be surprised to find out that there is no existing law preventing rental companies from renting recalled cars to customers.

Yet, despite the fact that driving a recalled car could prove dangerous, automakers and some rental car companies are fighting against the law to park recalled vehicles.

One major concern is that smaller rental car companies could end up forced to park large portions of their fleet as a result of a recall. Another issue is that private owners can continue to drive recalled cars even after news of the recall has been made, provided that these drivers are not facing undue risk of injury due to the vehicle defects. Since it can take weeks or months for automakers to fix a recall, there is concern that rental vehicles would be out of commission for a long period of time even if those vehicles were likely safe to drive.

The CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers recently testified before the Senate Commerce subcommittee pointing out some of the possible issues, including the fact that car companies could potentially be forced to prioritize repairs for car rental vehicles to get their business going again, thus resulting in consumers waiting longer and potentially being in danger.

While this may be the case, the issues that rental car companies and dealers will need to work out seem to be a small price to pay to reduce deaths and serious injuries resulting from rental car companies offering their customers recalled vehicles.

Contact Howard Law, PC today, if you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident. Call today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. 1-800-872-5925.

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"Move Over" Law - Saving Workers and Motorists Statewide, California Injury Lawyers, May 17, 2013.