Senator Zeldin Introduces Legislation to Halt Rental Companies From Renting Recalled Vehicles

Lee M. Zeldin

March 3, 2011

The Measure Protects Consumers; Closes Loophole

State Senator Lee Zeldin (R, C, I- Shirley) today announced legislation to require car rental companies to fix recalled vehicles before renting those vehicles to consumers.  

The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Act restricts dealerships from selling recalled vehicles; however it does not specifically restrict car rental companies from renting recalled vehicles.  Senator Zeldin’s measure closes the loophole through state legislation requiring vehicle rental companies to meet the same safety standards car dealerships must follow in regard to vehicle recalls. 

“When companies rent unfixed, recalled vehicles they are not only putting their customers in harm’s way, but they also endanger every driver and passenger on the road,” Senator Zeldin said. “This is practical legislation that simply requires rental companies to put safety first.”

According to a recent survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rental companies routinely allow consumers to drive recalled vehicles that have not been repaired. 

Auto manufacturers issue hundreds of recalls and service bulletins each year that affect millions of vehicles in North America, including thousands of rental cars and trucks. According to the American Car Rental Association, each rental company sets its own guidelines as to how to respond to vehicle manufacturers’ safety recalls and most place these vehicles on ‘hold’ until they are able to make the repairs. 

However, as shown by the NHTSA study and tragic media reports, not all rental companies share the same safety standards.  Further, in California, two sisters tragically were killed when their rented vehicle caught fire due to a safety recall that went unrepaired by the rental company. 

“The NHTSA study and recent media reports prove that state legislation requiring all rental companies to ground recalled vehicles until they are repaired is very much needed to protect the more than eleven-million licensed drivers in New York State, and the thousands more who travel New York’s highways and roadways each day,” Senator Zeldin said.