Lack of a federal law requiring rental car companies to adhere to safety recalls for their vehicles is a dangerous loophole for drivers, especially in the wake of the Takata airbag recalls. Allegedly, there isn’t even a requirement for companies to warn consumers of any safety recalls on the vehicles they are renting. Just recently, airbag manufacturer, Takata Corp., expanded its recall worldwide, which includes more than 57 million airbags, 34 million of them being in the U.S. Eight people have died so far from injuries caused by dysfunctional airbags, one of them being Jewel Brangman, who was driving a rental car when she died. Honda Corp issued a statement in June confirming that her fatal injuries were a result of the Takata Corp. manufactured airbag in her rental car. According to the statement, the vehicle Brangman rented had a salvage title, with a recall that had been issued in July 2009. Since then, at least 5 notices had been issued to registered owners, including one mailed to the rental car company in June 2013, but the car was never brought in for repair.
It is illegal for car dealers to sell vehicles with a known safety defect without repairing it first, yet rental car companies are not required to fix safety defects before renting their vehicles. The upcoming bill, introduced by Senator John Thune of South Dakota, would require rental car companies to let consumers know about safety recalls, but won’t require them to pull the cars off the road for repairs. Rosemary Shahan, president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety stated it was ‘outrageous’ that no federal oversight or legal consequence exists for renting unsafe vehicles. “That’s really just passing the buck on to someone. Trying to shift the liability on to the consumer. It’s just really not your job to make sure the car is safe. The whole point is the car is either safe or not.”
If you or a loved one have suffered injury or wrongful death due to faulty airbags, and rental car company negligence, the lawyers at Hodes Milman Liebeck are here for you in your time of need. Contact us today online at hmlm.com or call 866-730-1976 for a complimentary case evaluation.