Rental cars are part of the backbone of the travel industry as people often travel to places where taxis are rare and mass transit is non-existent. When people touch down in a foreign place, they already have enough to worry about with food, lodging, plane tickets, directions, and safety. They shouldn’t have to worry about their rental coming with defects that could place their lives at risk. Unfortunately, recalls for motor vehicles remain near all-time highs and this could impact rental cars as well.
Rental Cars and Recalls Hit All-Time Highs
Back in 2015, the recalls for various motor vehicles in the United States hit an all-time high for the second year in a row. This was due to regulators cracking down on a large number of safety defects that were being noticed in various vehicles. Furthermore, the automakers themselves committed to renewed safety initiatives and became more proactive when it came to reporting problems. Specifically, the automakers recalled over 50 million vehicles in over 850 separate recalls back in 2015. This means that millions of drivers and their cars were affected by the various auto recalls. When people hear about recalls, they typically think about the cars they own first; however, they should also think about the cars they rent when they travel. It can be a challenge for people to think about the various recalls that they’ve heard about when renting a car but these vehicles are just as much at risk of suffering a recall as any other car on the road. While some people argue that it is the rental car company’s responsibility to track these recalls and get these vehicles off of the road, the customer should still take responsibility for their own safety.
Tragic Injuries from Rental Cars in the Past
As evidence, rental companies aren’t always vigilant about tracking the recalls and cross-referencing them with their inventory. For example, the two Houck sisters rented a car from an Enterprise Rent-A-Car in California. Unfortunately, the car had been recalled and the rental company continued to rent out these cars to customers who didn’t know any better. When the Houck sisters rented their car back in 2004, the car caught fire and collided with a truck, killing both sisters in a tragic, and potentially avoidable, accident. The parents of the two Houck sisters filed a lawsuit in Alameda County, California. The case wound up with a $15 million payout to the Houck family in a wrongful death suit filed against the Enterprise Rent-A-Car company in June of 2010. This case, and various other rental car recall injuries, resulted in a new bill being passed in June of 2016 that requires the rental company to remove and fix any safety defects in recalled cars that they own before renting them out to customers. Enterprise has a mandatory hold that they place on all vehicles before renting them out.
What Should Customers Do?
Now, these rental agencies are required to remove their cars and fix any safety defects before a customer can drive them; however, no bill is perfect and customers should understand that there is still a chance that a car could be rented out without being removed. While the rental company could be punished, this still has significant safety risks for the customer. Therefore, customers should make sure that they are informed regarding the latest recalls in the auto industry and not rent a car from the list until it has been fixed.
A List of Recently Recalled Vehicles
There are several different makes and models that have been recalled recently for various issues, including:
Defective Emissions Software
- 2009-2015 Audi A3 and Volkswagen Beetle, Golf, and Jetta
- 2014-2015 Volkswagen Passat
Risk of Engine Compartment Fires
- 2000-2004 Chevrolet Impala
- 1997-2004 Pontiac Grand Prix
- 1998-1999 Chevrolet Lumina
- 1998-2004 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
- 1998-1999 Oldsmobile Intrigue
- 1997-2004 Buick Regal
- 2002-2005 Mini Cooper and Cooper S
- 2009-2010 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX
Customers should also ensure that they are well-versed on the Takata Airbag Recall to ensure that they don’t rent a car from this list by mistake.
How to Stay Up to Date on Recalls
Those who would like to check and make sure that they aren’t renting a car that has been recalled should feel free to visit the website of the National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration to look at the list of recent recalls. If they have a specific car in mind that they would like to know more about, they can use various internet services such as Edmunds and Cars.com to search the make and model and recent news, including articles about possible recalls impacting that brand.
What to Do if Injured by a Recalled Car
If a customer rents a car from a rental car company and suffers an injury, they first need to make sure that they seek expert medical attention. This means calling 911 from the scene of the accident to request medical personnel as quickly as possible. Car accidents can range in severity; however, even the smallest of car accidents can lead to significant medical injuries. A delay in medical care can lead to a delayed treatment and potentially avoidable, lifelong complications. Anyone injured in a car accident should tend to their health first.
If the car had been recalled and not properly serviced, it is possible that the rental car company could be liable for the injuries to the individual. Medical bills can place anyone under financial stress and nobody should have to deal with this alone. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident involving a recalled vehicle from a rental company, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys from GOM Law in McAllen, TX for more information. Highly trained professionals provide compassionate care for every client in every case.