As I have written for many months, the rental car market has a hidden danger lurking in it’s system. Namely, that no law exists for preventing cars to be rented without fixes, even after product recalls.
Approximately four months ago, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration first announced that approximately 3 million rental cars were being investigated in that they had been recalled for product defects. However, no action had been taken. It appeared then the rental companies were putting profitability over the safety of its renters and consumers. That initial recall included 29 models from General Motors Company, Ford Motor Company, and Chrysler Motor Company that had been sold to the rental car companies fleets. Recently General Motors and Chrysler informed NHTSA that tens of thousands of the recalled vehicles still had been unrepaired for months or longer.
Since automobile rental companies are some of the largest purchasers of motor vehicles from automobile manufacturers, news sources have indicated that Ford did not release its data concerning recalls, claiming that the release of their information may have a potential negative impact on its relationship with rental car companies could result in decreased sales of vehicles to those companies.
When you are on vacation you generally have your family and precious cargo of children with you and to think that there is no law currently requiring rental companies to make repairs to recalled vehicles before renting them or selling them to consumers is absolutely frightening and untenable.
As an experienced Pennsylvania automotive product liability, product defects, lawyer and consumer safety advocate, I query with NHTSA that “while dealers have a legal obligation not to sell a new vehicle after they have been notified of the recall by the manufacturer”, NHTSA does not have the legal authority to require consumers, including fleet owners like rental car companies, to have recalled vehicles fixed. In order to prevent the needless deaths of innocent victims unaware of defects on vehicles, I feel that there must be strict regulations with teeth and more pointed laws that address this dangerous practice.
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