Legislation has been introduced in Congress that would require rental car companies to not rent or sell unrepaired recalled vehicles, according to the Detroit News.
As the law stands now, rental car companies — which sell, rent and buy millions of vehicles a year — don't have to disclose that a vehicle has been recalled nor do they have to fix the issue, according to the Detroit paper.
The legislation, co-sponsored by prominent U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), would prohibit the rental of vehicles under a safety recall. The bill was introduced after two people were killed in 2004 when their unrepaired recalled Chrysler PT Cruiser, which was rented from Enterprise, caught fire and crashed.
The rental car industry has been under pressure for some time to make these rules standard; Boxer sent a letter to several large rental car firms urging them to stop renting recalled vehicles earlier this year. Only Hertz agreed to stop the practice, according to the Detroit News.
Enterprise, Avis and Dollar Thrifty say they repair their vehicles whenever it is practical to do so and ground vehicles when a manufacturer recommends the action. These three major rental firms dispute the proposed legislation's plan to ground all unrepaired recalled vehicles because they say some recalls are for only minor issues and would disrupt their business unnecessarily.
GM and Chrysler have told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that only about 30% of cars sold to rental companies were repaired within 90 days of a recall and more than 50% were repaired within a year. Earlier this year, CarFax found nearly 2.7 million vehicles on sale with safety recalls still open.