Hertz Enters Agreement with Safety Advocates: More Oversight of Rental Car Industry On the Way?
By Mike Rozembajgier
In a historic agreement, one of the largest U.S. auto-rental agencies and a safety-advocacy group have joined in a call for more federal oversight of the rental car industry. This agreement urges Congress to grant the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) authority to review car-rental companies’ recall practices and to prevent agencies from renting, leasing or selling recalled vehicles until they are fixed.
The rental car industry has been walking on thin ice ever since Enterprise Rent-A-Car was required to pay $15 million in a settlement tied to a deadly crash in 2004 that involved an auto that should have been recalled. The collision sparked a debate between safety advocates and the auto rental industry. Since the crash, U.S. Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) have been fighting to introduce legislation that would require rental car companies to pull from service vehicles under safety recalls until they are repaired.
Meanwhile, the American Car Rental Association – which represents companies like Enterprise and Avis – remains opposed to new federal oversight. The industry argues that it has developed strict practices to address recalls, contending that consumer safety is already a top priority.
But now that Hertz has stepped forward, other rental car companies would be well-advised to do the same and join the agreement. NHTSA’s investigation into the auto-rental industry is ongoing, and it is not a good time to be seen lagging behind lawmakers and consumers on the issue of consumer safety. By creating and implementing recall plans as soon as possible, rental car companies can ensure they are staying ahead of the game in this ever-changing regulatory environment.
What do you think pushed Hertz to enter into this agreement? How do you think Congress and the rest of the rental car industry will react? Your thoughts are most welcome below.
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