Last updated: 09:51 AM ET, Wed July 15 2015

New Bill Could Allow Rental of Recalled Vehicles

Car Rental & Rail | Rich Thomaselli | July 13, 2015

New Bill Could Allow Rental of Recalled Vehicles

A proposed transportation bill introduced last week by a Senate committee is coming under heavy criticism, as it would allow car rental companies to rent recalled vehicles that have yet to be repaired.

The bill, introduced by Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee chairman Sen. John Thune (R-South Dakota), does stipulate that car rental companies must inform consumers about the recall notices on the car if it has not been fixed yet.

Still, just the idea of renting a car with potential problems has created a firestorm.

“Whether you’re visiting Disneyland, New York City or Mount Rushmore, or just need a safer car while your own recalled car is being repaired, you shouldn’t have to worry that it’s perfectly legal, under federal law, for a rental car company to hand you the keys to a ticking time-bomb car,” Rosemary Shahan, president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, told the Associated Press.

But Thune and Commerce Committee spokesperson Frederick Hill said the bill needs to be viewed in a broader scope, with Hill saying that “This provision would establish a new pro-consumer requirement that the recall status of a vehicle must be disclosed before renting.”

The bill also eliminates a hard deadline for railroads to start using long-sought technology that automatically stops trains to prevent crashes, the AP noted.

The bills calls on railroads, both commuter and freight, to have the necessary equipment in place by Dec. 31, 2018. However, it sets no deadline for when the railroads would begin using the new technology.

The bill comes on the heels of an Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia in May in which it was determined the train was traveling at twice the speed limit. The accident killed eight passengers.

TravelPulse founder and CEO Mark Murphy appeared on CBS News Live to discuss the pros and cons of allowing recalled vehicles into rental fleets.

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