Car Rental: How Safe Are You?

Matthew Powell

Have you ever decided on a last minute road trip, had to fly somewhere only to drive yourself to whatever event awaited you, or had a desire to explore a foreign city while away?  If so, then a rental car is something you are likely familiar with.  However, did you ever stop to consider what risk you were being put in by sitting behind the wheel of the borrowed vehicle?

There are, at any given time, approximately two million rental cars on the road.  Though consumers can be inundated with information on the rental process, negotiation tactics, and contract explanations, there is little said about the safety records of the rental agencies.  Is it that they don’t want you to know?

Not that long ago, the topic made headlines when Enterprise (the giant car rental company) joined in efforts to ban the ability of rental companies to hand over the keys of a recalled vehicle to a member of the general public.  Once the recalled item was fixed and corrected, of course, the car, truck, or van would be good to go.  However, it was discovered that some rental agencies (including Enterprise) had gotten into a habit of overlooking some of those recalls.  With the number two rental company – Hertz – already on board, the government legislature was a sure thing.

This came after an accident near Santa Cruz, California.  A rental car – a PT Cruiser — has been issued to two young women after a recall had been received by Enterprise stating that the vehicle had a faulty power steering system and could be leaking flammable fluids.  The company ignored the recall and gave the keys to the women anyway.  Along their travels, both women were killed in the blaze.  Very little was left of the PT Cruiser.

So, while efforts are being made to ensure the safety of the cars rented from these corporate giants, you must be careful to assess the risk.  Asking questions is always the best way to get answers.  If you are involved in a Tampa auto accident as a result of a malfunctioning rental vehicle, then speak to an attorney regarding your rights.

Matthew Powell

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