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If you ever rent a car for yourself or your family, you’re going to want to read this. Major rental car companies openly admit that they don’t always respond to safety recalls of the vehicles they rent to the public. In fact, many of them frequently ignore them, and wait until a “true safety recall” (according to one Hertz exec) comes along to send in a vehicle for a safety repair.

But as N.H.T.S.A. sees it, there is no such thing as an unimportant recall.

“All safety recalls resulting from defects present an unreasonable risk to safety and we believe it is inappropriate to suggest that some defects are not risky enough to require repair,” Karen Aldana, a spokeswoman for the safety agency, said in an e-mail. “For the safety of the motoring public, all recalled vehicles should be fixed promptly.” –New York Times

But here’s the rub. Just as the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration can’t make consumers send in recalled vehicles, it has no authority to make rental companies comply with safety recalls. Currently, no one can make these companies put consumer safety first and have their cars repaired when they need to be.

If you think it’s no big deal, consider the case of two California women who died when their rented Chrysler PT Cruiser car caught fire and crashed. Enterprise, who rented the women the car, admitted in a California court that its failure to respond to a safety recall for the car had caused their deaths.

Laws should be in place to protect the public from needless accidents like these when there are simple safety fixes. It shouldn’t be up to the rental companies whether or not to put their customers’ lives in jeopardy and make a little extra money by not complying with safety recalls. Before you rent again, please read what each car rental company had to say to the NHTSA about its recall compliance policy.

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