Rental Cars Must Have Recall Repairs Before Hitting the Road, Senate Committee Says


Millions of vehicles from nearly every major vehicle manufacturer have been recalled in the past several years for various defects. Vehicle owners typically receive notice about a defect in the mail, with instructions to take the vehicle to a dealership for repairs.

But what happens to the millions of rental vehicles in the United States when they are subject to a recall?

When a vehicle rental company receives dozens or hundreds of recall notices, does the company take all the vehicles in for repair – or does it continue to rent the vehicles to drivers, who may not be aware of the potential risks?

Until recently, rental companies were not required to repair recalled vehicles, to withhold them from renters or to notify renters of the potential risks of driving a recalled vehicle. That would change under legislation proposed by a Senate panel earlier this month, according to a Bloomberg Business article.

The original bill allowed rental companies to continue renting recalled vehicles without getting them fixed, as long as the company told the renter that the car had a safety defect. However, the Senate committee approved an amendment by Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, which prevents rental companies from renting out recalled vehicles until the defect is fixed.

The amended bill was approved by the committee on a 13-11 vote. While its supporters say that it will significantly improve rental car safety, opponents noted that the rule may also make it more difficult for individual vehicle owners to get their own recall repairs addressed, if dealerships are swamped with rental cars needing repairs. The bill now goes to the entire Senate for consideration.

Recall repairs are essential to driver safety. Recalls address hidden safety defects in vehicles. A driver may not realize that a safety defect exists until it has already caused an accident or serious injury. This is particularly true in the case of rental cars, since the driver of a rental car cannot know the particular vehicle as well as one the driver uses every day.

If you or a loved one have suffered personal injuries as the result of a defective rental car that was subject to a recall but not repaired, please talk to the Rhode Island personal injury attorneys at Marasco & Nesselbush who can help you navigate the legal system and obtain the compensation you deserve. Call us at 401-443-2999 or fill out a contact form to set up a free legal consultation. We have four offices in Providence, Wakefield, Warwick, and Woonsocket to easily serve you.