The Barnes Firm

Renting Cars Under Recall

LOS ANGELES –Automotive dealerships are required to pull recalled cars from sale lots until the defective products have been fixed. For the millions of Americans renting cars, that luxury doesn’t come standard.

The rental car industry is a $24.4 billion venture. With more Americans traveling, there’s a greater demand to keep the nation’s 2-million rental cars operational and safe. Most rental agencies claim they do not offer customers a vehicle if it is subject to any active rental car recalls but the federal government doesn’t require this… Yet.

The 2015 Senate ‘Highway Bill’ could be the first step to ensuring customer safety for millions of Americans who travel and rent vehicles, sort of. Rental agencies would be required to tell consumers in writing that the vehicle they are about to rent is under recall, according to the bill. However, rental agencies would not be required to immediately get the vehicle fixed.

Los Angeles car accident attorneys at The Barnes Firm say safety has quickly become the consumer’s top priority.

“When people buy a new car, they want to know they’ll be safe while driving the streets of Los Angeles,” car accident attorney John Sheehan said. “Automakers issued over 52 million recalls last year, so there are still a lot of cars that need to be repaired and some of them are owned by rental companies.”

Most rental companies pledged not to rent out unsafe vehicles after the deaths of two Santa Cruz women in 2004. The two women rented a vehicle which had defects known to start fires. The vehicle had not been repaired and the women were killed in a fiery crash. A jury later awarded their family $15 million.

The federal government has attempted to close the loophole several times, but without any success. Another bill is being offered again this year, titled the . The bill, which has the support of many major rental car companies, would require all vehicles with active rental car recalls to be immediately pulled off rental car lots until they could be fixed.

However, the National Automobile Dealers Association and others blasted the proposed bill for being “overly broad.”

It is likely that at least some changes will be made to the rental car industry but will these changes save a life? For some families, the changes could come too late.

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