In 2004, two sisters were killed when their rental car leaked steering fluid and caught fire, causing the vehicle to lose control and crash into a tractor trailer. The rental company was not obligated to disclose the fact that the PT Cruiser had been recalled for a hose issue approximately one month before. The incident led to the introduction of the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2013, a bill that requires rental companies to fix defects in recalled vehicles before making them available to the public, but the bill is not law. Legally, in Nevada and nationwide, rental car companies are still not required to divulge the recall status of their cars.
An uneasy compromise
As any personal injury attorney in Las Vegas and nationwide can attest, recent automotive defects have kept recalls in the headlines and in the courts. Bloomberg News reported on a new bill that would allow rental companies to rent unrepaired recalled vehicles in their fleets as long as they notify the consumer of the recall status. Bloomberg states that groups such as Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety oppose the measure and plan to continue to fight for laws that prohibit the rental of cars in recall status. However, a ban faces strong opposition.
The National Automobile Dealers Association and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers oppose restrictions on rentals. According to reports by Insurance Journal and American Prospect, NADA and AAM cite several arguments in support of the use of defective rental cars. The groups state that increased rental costs, vehicle shortages and backlogs for repairs at dealerships would fall to consumers. In addition, NADA argues that 90 percent of recalls from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are for minor defects that do not merit a driving suspension.
A step back
A personal injury attorney in Las Vegas or any other major service area might agree with safety advocates that a bill that allows consumers to drive defective vehicles could encourage rental companies to abandon current protection policies. Although it is not the law, pressure from supporters of the Safe Rental Car Act led many organizations to stop renting recalled vehicles. The list includes the following major companies:
- Hertz Global Holdings Inc.
- Avis Budget Group Inc.
- Enterprise Holdings
GovTrack estimates that the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act has only a 12 percent chance of enactment.
Get Professional Counsel
Motor vehicle accidents can be traumatic and confusing. If you have been injured or have suffered a loss due to an accident with a defective rental car, a personal injury attorney in Las Vegas may be able to help.