On Wednesday, June 1, a new law went into effect banning rental car companies from renting vehicles with an open recall. Any rental car business with a fleet of more than 35 vehicles must pull all vehicles recalled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) until repairs are completed.
The Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act was approved by Congress in 2015 as part of a $305 billion highway bill. The bill was named after two sisters who were killed in an accident involving their rental car, which had been recalled in 2004 but was never fixed. For years, their mother, Cally Houck, lobbied Congress to pass laws prohibiting recalled vehicles from being used as rentals. Supporters of the recalled rental car ban believe the law will help stop preventable deaths. Mark Rosekind, NHTSA Administrator, has voiced his support for the law, saying it is yet another tool created to protect motorists throughout the country.
Rental cars have some of the largest fleets in the country, and this law will have a large impact on ensuring the safety of vehicles on the roads. The law also extends the NHTSA’s recall authority to the rental car industry for the first time, allowing the agency to punish those not following the law.
The recalled rental car ban goes into effect in the midst of the nation’s largest automobile recall – over 50 million automobiles have been recalled due to defective Takata airbags. The current demand for replacement airbag parts has burdened Takata, and repairs likely won’t be completed until 2019. The NHTSA says only 8 million affected airbag repairs have been completed so far. If you sustained an injury in an accident where defective vehicle components were to blame, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and more. Consult our experienced product liability attorneys to learn what legal options are available for you.