A transportation bill introduced by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, would allow car rental companies to rent recalled vehicles that haven’t been repaired.
Sen. Thune and the committee will meet on Wednesday July 15 to consider and vote on S. 1732, the Comprehensive Transportation and Consumer Protection Act of 2015. The bill’s Section 4209 says rental car companies must tell renters about the recall notices in writing — if they don’t anticipate fixing the cars first.
According to a press release from Thune’s website, the bill “improves consumer awareness of vehicle safety information and requires franchised dealers and car rental companies to provide consumers with notification of open safety recalls. [It] increases the time consumers have to seek a free remedy for tire recalls and creates a state pilot grant to inform consumers of open vehicle recalls at the time of motor vehicle registration.”
Thune’s staff indicated that the bill’s language was supported by auto manufacturers and dealers.
The American Car Rental Association (ACRA) has voiced its opposition to Thune’s bill because it takes a step back in consumer protection — when compared to the current car rental industry practice of grounding vehicles with open safety recalls.
Instead, ACRA supports Sen. Claire McCaskill’s proposed amendment for rental car recalls: “The Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act.” The legislation would require car rental companies to “ground” (take out of rental service) vehicles subject to a federal safety recall until repairs are made. And it would prohibit car rental companies from selling vehicles from their fleets with open safety recalls.
The Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act is also supported by the Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS), AAA, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Center for Auto Safety as well as several other consumer safety advocates.
Sen. McCaskill (D-Mo.) will offer her amendment during Wednesday’s committee meeting on S. 1732.