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Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) are ready to regulate rental car recalls. The politicians are making plans to propose legislation that would ban companies from renting recalled vehicles until safety defects have been repaired.
The issue has been under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration since the end of 2010, according to USA Today. Figures provided by General Motors and Chrysler show that rental car companies only repair 10% to 30% of cars within 30 days of a recall. At 90 days, the number increases to a solid 30%. After a year, to 50%.
A third automaker, Ford, declined to provide the agency with data.
Sen. Boxer sent a letter to the four leading rental companies -- Hertz, Avis Budget, Enterprise (Alamo, National) and Dollar Thrifty -- asking them to make a commitment to her plan, reports the Los Angeles Times. Hertz already has such a policy, according to a company spokesman. The company has also struck an agreement with safety advocates in support of similar legislation.
Enterprise says it supports legislation proposed by the American Car Rental Association, but safety advocates don't believe the proposed law goes far enough to protect consumers from rental car recalls.
Getting this legislation passed could take some time, so it's time to be proactive about your safety. If you need to rent a car, don't be shy about asking whether it has any pending recalls. You can also call ahead to find out what type of car you're renting, and then do an Internet search. Unfixed rental car recalls can be unsafe and you don't want to get into a car that has not been repaired.