Rental car companies will stop renting recalled cars

Renting a car just got a little safer thanks to an agreement with the top four rental car companies. Enterprise/National/Alamo, Hertz/Advantage, Avis/Budget, and Dollar/Thrift agreed to keep recalled cars off the road and agreed to support a bill to make this a law.

The Senate bill would require all recalled vehicles to be taken out of circulation as soon as possible, but no more than 24 hours after the rental car company gets the recall notice.  If the company has more than 5,000 vehicles in question in their fleet, the timeframe will expand to 48 hours.

Also, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will be able to investigate and police rental car companies for violations of the law.

“This breakthrough was years in the making. It will help take recalled rental cars off the road for good,” said Schumer. “Consumers will no longer have to worry about what they aren’t being told when they go to the rental car counter. With the industry’s full backing, we think we have a great shot to get this legislation passed before the end of the year.”

The law was pushed by Cally Houck of California after her two daughters were killed in a crash while driving a recalled vehicle.

Now that this law has support and is on its way through Congress, it’s time safety advocates work to implement a similar law for used cars. It’s legal to buy a used car with an open recall. I’ve reported for NewsChannel 5 on multiple people who bought a used car only to find it was sold to them with a serious safety defect like a rusted rear axle.

Car dealers say it would be difficult to keep tabs on this. Currently, you need to pay for a CarFax report, check the manufacturer’s website, or search NHTSA’s website by make and model. NHTSA bought software to create a centralized database so you can search in one place for all vehicles. You’d simply enter the VIN and find out if the car is recalled. Used car dealers told the GAO the database would be helpful. However, NHTSA told the Government Accountability Office it needs signficantly more resources to implement it.

I hope safety advocates push this now that we seem to be close to a law for rental cars.

It is illegal to sell a new car with a recall. Then again, who would buy a new car that’s already been recalled. It would make me wonder.

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