A new federal law now requires that rental car agencies fix recalled cars before they can be rented out.
A long time in the making, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that the new law is effective June 1, 2016 and rental car agencies must fix any and all open safety defects before renting out vehicles to customers. Federal law now prohibits any company or dealer with fleets greater than 35 vehicles to rent unrepaired recalled vehicles and also extends NHTSA’s recall authority to cover rental car companies for the first time, giving the agency power to investigate and punish violators.
The legislation was championed by the family of Raechel and Jacqueline Houck, sisters who died in a rental vehicle that was under a safety recall but had not been repaired. In recent years, there have been a record number of recalls on vehicles, especially now with the massive Takata airbag recall linked to over a dozen deaths.
“When a family picks up a rental car on vacation, they should be able to expect it is free of any known safety defect,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “I thank Congress and the safety advocates who helped turn this common-sense idea into law.”