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Federal Lawmakers Fight Against ‘Rental Car Roulette’ [AUDIO]

Federal lawmakers are fighting to close a loophole which allows rental car companies to put you behind the wheel of a vehicle that’s subject to a safety recall.

Joe Raedle, Getty Images

“There’s only one reason a car is subject to a safety recall and that’s because it’s unsafe and the manufacturer believes it’s unsafe,” said Rosemary Shahan. “Typical reasons cars are recalled are that the brakes don’t work, they’re prone to catching fire, the steering doesn’t work, the air bags don’t work among other things. That can be very dangerous.”

“If you buy a car from a new car dealer, once they get a safety recall notice, they have to ground those cars. They can’t sell them to you until their fixed,” said Shahan. “It’s only right that rental car companies be held to the same standards. They’re playing ‘rental car roulette’ with people’s lives.”

Last year, federal legislation was introduced which would change the law. The Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act was named after two sisters from California who died in a fiery crash in 2004. They hit an 18-wheeler after their Enterprise rental car caught fire. The car had been recalled for a possible engine fire hazard, but had not been repaired. The measure would prohibit rental car companies from renting or selling cars that are under a safety recall until they are repaired.

“Each of the rental car companies was challenged to agree to a pledge to permanently commit to ground recalled cars until they’re fixed. Hertz is the only company, so far, to agree,” said Shahan. “The other companies said they’re changing their policies, but haven’t made a permanent commitment.”

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