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Schumer Wants To Stop Rental of Recalled Vehicles

by Ashwin Bhandari
A A
Senator Schumer at his press conference.
Ashwin Bhandari/WFUV

New York Senator wants car rental agencies to be held to the same standards as car dealers when it comes to auto manufacturer recalls.

If you rented a car recently, you could have been driving a lemon. Currently, car rental agencies are allowed to rent vehicles that have been recalled by their manufacturers.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer wants to stop car rental agencies from renting those defective vehices. Schumer said the current policy puts consumers in harm's way, "the way the car rental regulations currently exist, it could well be a less safe option than taking your own car."

Schumer added that the law is needed because of serious crashes in recent years involving rental cars under recall. In a press release, Schumer mentioned the Houck sisters, California residents who rented a Chrysler PT Cruiser from Enterprise. The statement said the car had been recalled by Chrysler a month before because "a possible leakage of power steering fluid could result in a fire under the hood of the car". Enterprise did not address the safety recall, and the Houks were killed when their rental car caught fire and crashed into an oncoming semi-tractor trailer. 

Schumer's legislation aims to subject the two billion dollar industry to the same standards as auto manufacturers, who are barred from selling cars under recall. Schumer said "if the car is unsafe enought to be recalled, it should not be rented to an unsuspecting consumer".

The American Rental Car Association, which represents most major car rental companies, proposed its own two-tiered system eariler this month to address safety concerns. They said their plan wouldn't keep rental cars off the road unnecessarily. Under their proposal, cars that posed "serious" safety issues would be kept off the road. Recalls considered "less serious" would be fixed as soon as possible but would continue to be rented to consumers.

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