Sunday, 20 March 2011

Rental Car Companies Dispute Findings of NHTSA Study

The three major rental car companies in the U.S. - Enterprise, Avis and Hertz have objected to the findings of a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The study found that the agencies have a poor record when it comes to repairing recalled vehicles before renting them out.

The NHTSA study came in response to the deaths of two California women in a rental car accident that was later blamed on a defective car. The car, a Chrysler PT Cruiser, had been recalled a year earlier, and unknown to the two women, had not been repaired. Enterprise renting out the car to the two sisters, and when it was involved in the crash, the two women were killed instantly. Their families sued Enterprise, and were awarded $15 million in damages.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration soon began studying the practice of rented out recalled vehicles at some of the biggest rental car companies in the US. They found very high rates of recalled vehicles rented out without repairs. For instance, at Hertz Rent-A-Car, only 34% of recalled vehicles were repaired before being rented out. At Avis/Budget, about 53% of the cars that were recalled were repaired before they were rented again. Enterprise repaired about 63% of the recalled vehicles before renting them. The findings of the study became the foundation for a bill proposed by Sen. Charles Schumer, which will impose serious restrictions on renting out recalled vehicles.

But the rental car companies that were investigated by the NHTSA have objected to the findings of the NHTSA study, calling them outdated. According to the companies, they have a policy that involves selecting which recalled car should remain on the lot, depending on the type of recall and other factors. Obviously, this procedure didn't work too well for the two California sisters who were killed from a defective recalled rental car. That is all the more reason why Los Angeles car accident attorneys should support this bill.

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