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All Press Releases for January 04, 2014 »
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National bill seeks to prevent renting of defective vehicles

According to CNBC, a loophole allows companies to rent a car to people that is under a manufacturer's recall without having to fix it.
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    January 04, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Rental cars are popular with many people in Mahoning County. People assume that these vehicles, which are brand new, are safe to use but this may not always be true and people could be at risk of being involved in a car accident.

Bill proposed to close loophole

According to CNBC, a loophole allows companies to rent a car to people that is under a manufacturer's recall without having to fix it. However a national bill has been presented that would require these companies to pull vehicles from their fleet within 24-48 hours, depending on the size of the fleet. The bill requires companies to have the repairs made before the cars can be rented or made available to the public.

The bill stems from a fatal car accident that occurred in 2004. A manufacturer had issued a recall on a vehicle model after it was discovered that the power steering hose could start an engine fire, due to a defect. A rental car company ignored the recall, renting the vehicle to two sisters. The vehicle ended up hitting a semi in a head-on collision after the hose caught fire, killing both of them.

Thousands of vehicles rented under recall

In 2011, a survey revealed that thousands of vehicles under a manufacturer's recall were rented to unsuspecting people since 2006. According to ABC News, a study was conducted that examined data from 10 recalls issued from Chrysler and General Motors for the period of 2006 to 2010. The data focused on how many cars were sent in from rental car companies. The study revealed the following:
- Hertz fixed 34 percent of these vehicles.
- Avis/Budget fixed 53 percent of their vehicles that were on a defect recall.
- Enterprise fixed 65 percent.

The study did not include data from other rental car companies so it is unknown exactly how many vehicles have been rented to people without being fixed.

Mixed reactions

The reaction from the auto industry regarding the new legislation has been mixed. While the largest rental car companies have voiced support, Auto News reports that car dealers and even manufacturers are against the bill. Their reasoning is that requiring car rental companies to fix defective autos will create problems for them. One of their arguments is that consumers would have to wait longer for their vehicles to be repaired because car rental companies would demand that their vehicles be fixed first.

Another argument said that car rental companies would be able to seek damages against manufacturers for liability because of the loss of income that companies would experience. However, these organizations seem more concerned over the monetary issues rather than on the lives that could be saved with the passing of such a bill. When a person has been injured, or a family has lost a loved one because of a vehicle defect, they should discuss their legal options with an experienced and qualified attorney.

Article provided by Gervelis Law Firm
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