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Proposed bill would keep recalled rental cars off the road

Recalled vehicles pose many risks to consumers on the road, including the risk of being in a car accident. Many consumers in West Virginia may be unaware that under current laws, rental car companies are allowed to rent or sell vehicles that are part of an open recall made by the manufacturer. This practice puts many consumers' lives at risk when they rent a vehicle.

To address the dangers of renting a recalled vehicle, Congress has proposed a bill that would prohibit rental companies from renting or selling vehicles that are part of a recall. Under the bill, rental companies can start renting or selling the vehicles after they have been repaired.

Under current laws, car dealerships cannot sell recalled vehicles until the safety issues have been fixed. The lawmakers who proposed the bill said it only makes sense to hold rental car companies to the same standards to protect consumers from being in a serious crash caused by a defective automobile.

The specific provisions of the bill include prohibiting the rental or sale of vehicles named in an auto recall; vehicles named in a recall must be grounded within 24 hours of the recall notice being received, with 48 hours being the standard for recalls that have more than 5,000 vehicles involved; rental companies can take temporary safety measures issued by the auto manufacturer but they must replace the parts of the vehicle when they are available; and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is able to investigate and take action against rental car companies that do not follow proper auto recall practices.

Many rental car companies reported that they already have changed their company policies to make sure recalled vehicles are not being rented or sold to the public. However, many rental agencies as well as consumer safety advocates say that having a uniform standard will help keep everyone safer and prevent tragic car accidents from happening in the future.

Source: Cars.com, "Legislation Would Ground Recalled Rental Cars," Matt Schmitz, May 13, 2013

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