New Federal Safety Regulations for Rentals

On June 1, a new federal law went into effect regulating the safety of rental cars. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Safe Rental Car Act requires all rental cars to be compliant with current safety standards and to be free of defects and open recalls prior to rental to customers. The bill was made into law during the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015.

Also known as the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act, the bill was named in memory of two sisters who were killed in a rental car that had been recalled for a safety defect but had not yet been repaired. The new law requires all vehicles that have received recall notices to have the necessary repairs before they are rented or sold to consumers.

The law would apply to hundreds of thousands of vehicles that have been recalled this year as part of the Takata airbag recall. The faulty airbags, installed in Toyota, Honda, BMW and dozens of other models can explode on impact, propelling hot gasses and scraps of metal around the inside of the car.

In a car accident, there are a number of safety features that can affect the condition and survival of the driver and passengers involved. These include:

  • Seat belts — still one of the leading life-saving safety features, seat belts are mandatory in every state in the nation;
  • Airbags — standard in all cars since 1998, airbags save thousands of lives a year despite the risk of injury from the bag itself;
  • Antilock braking systems — designed to prevent brakes from locking in an emergency, ABS automatically pumps the brake, allowing the driver to maintain control in a skid situation;
  • Traction Control — a new feature that limits wheel spin capacity, allowing a driver to maintain maximum traction in et or icy conditions;
  • Electronic Stability Control — standard equipment since 2012, ESC can prevent a vehicle from rolling over when turning;

There are numerous up and coming safety features that remain in trial markets and testing labs. In most cases, luxury vehicles are the traditional testing ground for new features, so the rental market may lag behind for a while.

If you are involved in an accident, either in your own car or a rental car, contact a personal injury lawyer immediately. You may be eligible to collect money to pay your medical bills and more. A member of the litigation team at the Law Office of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivy & Fronrath is on call to help you with your case. Call our West Palm Beach offices at 561-655-1990 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.