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Federal Law Bans Renting Out Recalled Cars

The largest car rental company in the United States is no longer opposing a new federal regulation impacting recalled vehicles and the rental industry. Enterprise Rent-A-Car had previously treated the new law concerning recalled dangerous vehicles as unnecessary and had allegedly lobbied against its passage. After a petition supporting the measure acquired more than 100,000 signatures in less than a week, the company may be changing its stance. The petition was launched by a woman who lost two daughters to a car accident involving an Enterprise rental car that was subject to a recall, but had not been brought in for repair.

The incident in questions involved a Chrysler PT Cruiser. The vehicle was the subject of a recall because it posed a fire hazard based on fluid leaks. This particular vehicle was rented to the young women despite the recall. It subsequently caught fire during operation and crashed into a semi truck. That crash led safety groups and legislators to take a long, hard look at car rental companies and their practices concerning recalled vehicles.

The law as currently proposed would force rental companies to have recalled vehicles repaired before they could legally rent them to customers. As the largest purchaser of new vehicles in America, by far, rental companies have the largest role to play in seeing that recalled vehicles get repaired in a timely manner. Estimates place the total U.S. rental fleet at roughly 1.5 million vehicles. The law would force rental companies to make sure their vehicles did not suffer from any known safety hazards at the time of rental.

Hertz has apparently reached an agreement regarding their policies and rental car recalls. Avis announced that it was currently considering the arrangement reached by Hertz. If Enterprise chooses to support the legislation, the three companies that make up the bulk of the rental market could be united in support for the safety measure.

Source: ABC News, "Enterprise Rent-A-Car Blinks in Battle with California Mom," by Randy Kreider, 23 February 2012

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