New Legislation Aims to Prevent Rental Car Accidents & Injuries
As part of summer vacation plans, many people find themselves renting a car to get where they want to go. Rental cars save drivers wear and tear on their personal vehicles when making long distance trips and are often a necessity for getting to and from the airport, hotels and other activities. Fortunately, a new law has taken effect that may help to prevent car accidents and injuries caused by safety defects in rental cars. This law helps to address issues concerning the high number of car recalls that have occurred over the past few years, and may make renting a car safer for both you and your loved ones.
Rental Cars and Car Recalls
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), as many as 400 million cars, trucks, mopeds, and recreational vehicles have been recalled due to safety, design, and performance issues in the United States over the last 20 years, as well as 45 million tires and 65 million other types of automotive equipment. Recent reports indicate that the last several years have been record breaking in terms of these numbers, due in part to the Takata airbag scandal and similar problems plaguing car manufacturers such as Honda, Ford, Toyota, and General Motors. These safety defects could result in an increased likelihood for serious injuries to drivers and their passengers, with recalls due to many issues, including the following:
- Defective steering components
- Fuel systems at risk of fire or explosion
- Sudden acceleration issues
- Problems with system wiring and electrical systems
Automobile manufacturers are required to notify vehicle owners and to replace or repair defective parts in recalled vehicles. Unfortunately, in the case of rental cars, the owner is a company or corporation, and while defect corrections are offered, there has previously been nothing to compel car rental companies to bring their vehicles up to speed. The result has been that customers who rent cars often face the risk of unknowingly renting and driving a recalled car—increasing their risk for accident and injury.
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Making Your Rental Car Safer
Fortunately, a new federal law took effect June 1, 2016 that can offer increased protection to consumers against the dangers posed by recalled vehicles. Under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, car rental companies with over 35 vehicles are required by law to make repairs to recalled vehicles before renting them to customers. Additionally, the NHTSA now has the right to investigate rental car companies to help ensure repairs are made to recalled vehicles — and they have the right to penalize companies without proper records or evidence of such required repairs.
Reach Out to Us for Help
If you or a loved one has suffered injury in a car accident that resulted from another’s reckless or negligent actions, contact Anastopoulo Law Firm. Our experienced South Carolina car accident attorneys can advise you on how to hold responsible parties accountable so that you can get the compensation you deserve for the damages you have suffered.