Thanks to a newly passed amendment in the transportation renewal bill from the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, those who frequently drive rental cars can feel more secure behind the wheel. Senator Claire McCaskill inserted the change to force rental companies to perform recalls on their vehicles before they can go to consumers. According to Bloomberg, an earlier proposal would have allowed these faulty vehicles to remain in service, as long as customers were warned.
“When consumers and families drive a rental car off the lot, they should be able to do so with the confidence that car is safe to drive, and we’re one step closer to that peace of mind today,” Senator McCaskill said in a statement after her amendment was accepted and the bill passed 13 to 11. She also asserted that General Motors, Honda, and some rental companies supported her change in the legislation.
There has been continued controversy for years regarding how rental car companies handled pending recalls on their vehicles. In 2011, the firms asked for a two-tier system to prioritize the most dangerous campaigns. More recently, some businesses fought against an act to force the firms to park recalled models until they were repaired. That attitude has shifted, though. According to Bloomberg, the American Car Rental Association, a trade group representing the industry, called the earlier plan only to warn customers a “significant step back in consumer protection.”
The Senate committee also accepted two other amendments concerning auto safety. One increased funding for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration after successful reforms to the agency. The other doubled penalties for safety violations from automakers to $14,000 per incident and a cap of $70 million.