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Senators Bring Back Bill That Ensures Recalled Rental Cars Get Fixed

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 5/4/2015 Karla Sanchez

This month, four U.S. senators reintroduced a bill that would force car rental companies to pull recalled vehicles from their fleet.

The bill would require rental companies to follow the same rules that currently apply to new car dealers, which means they will no longer be allowed to loan recalled vehicles to customers unless the vehicle has been taken in for repairs. "The millions of Americans who get behind the wheel of a rental car each year have a right to the peace of mind that the car they're driving is safe," said Sen. Claire McCaskill from Missouri. "This bill aims to keep dangerous vehicles off the road with the requirement that rental cars subject to a recall must be fixed before they can be rented to a customer."

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According to the new legislation, rental car companies must ground vehicles no later than 24 hours after they receive the safety recall notice. Should more than 5,000 vehicles in a rental company’s fleet be affected, the company will have up to 48 hours. Rental companies will also be allowed to sell a damaged vehicle subject to recall for parts or scrap with a junk title.

If a manufacturer's recall notice lists steps that can be taken to eliminate the safety risk until parts are available, a rental company may continue to rent the vehicle if it follows those steps. Once parts do become available, the companies must ground the recalled vehicle and have it repaired before loaning it to customers. The bill also ensures rental car companies can’t seek damages from manufacturers if they’re unable to rent out recalled vehicles because of a delay in parts availability. Rental car companies have noted that taxis, limousines, and car services aren't covered by the legislation.

The bill, named after two sisters who were killed in a recalled rental car that wasn’t repaired, is backed by the Obama administration and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. General Motors and other major rental car companies have also endorsed the bill.

It's unclear if the legislation will succeed, considering this is the third straight year that such a law has been proposed.

Source: The Detroit News

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