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Rental company now supports federal car recall legislation

On behalf of of Frederick & Hagle posted in Car Accidents on Friday, February 24, 2012.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car, the largest car rental company in the United States, has recently changed its stance on a federal bill that would prohibit rental companies from renting out cars that were recalled for safety reasons. While the rental giant had previously declared the bill to be unnecessary, it seems the efforts of a mother whose daughters died in a car accident while in an Enterprise rental may have changed their minds. The car had been recalled because leaky steering fluid presented a fire risk, but despite the company’s apparent knowledge of the recall, it was rented to the sisters.

Much like any other vehicle, Champaign-Urbana drivers should be able to expect that the cars they rent will be safe and free from product defects. Rental companies have a duty to their customers to provide safe cars and that includes submitting rental vehicles for maintenance if a nationwide recall is instituted. When rental car companies lend potentially faulty cars, they could be held liable for any injuries that result.

The proposed legislation is part of an effort to ensure that only safe vehicles will be rented to customers by forcing rental car companies to either repair recalled vehicles or remove them from their available fleet. The bill has been included as an amendment of a transportation bill that Congress is expected to vote on within the next couple weeks.

The accident that seems to have spurred Enterprise’s change of heart happened in 2004 when two sisters rented a Chrysler PT Cruiser from Enterprise that had previously been recalled because of leaking steering fluid. Despite the recall, the company rented the vehicle and the women’s car started on fire after the steering fluid ignited. Tragically, the fire caused them to move into oncoming traffic and they were killed after a head-on collision with a semitrailer.

Source: ABC News, “Enterprise Rent-A-Car Blinks in Battle with California Mom,” Randy Kreider, Feb. 23, 2012

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