A new government rule, in addition to a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate, would attempt to keep dangerous, unrecalled cars out of the hands of consumers. The rule, which will soon be announced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, requires automakers to allow searches for active recalls on their websites. The searches would use a vehicle’s identification number, and the websites must be updated weekly.
The purpose of the new rule is at allow the public to know if a vehicle that they are considering purchasing has been repaired after being recalled. Although 70 percent of vehicles that are recalled are repaired, that still leaves a large amount of vehicles that are subject to recalls that aren’t repaired.
The bill introduced in the Senate also deals with recalled vehicles. The Senate bill, introduced this summer, bans rental car companies from renting out vehicles that are under recall but haven’t been repaired. The bill was inspired by the deaths of two sisters who were killed when their rental PT Cruiser, which was under a recall but hadn’t been repaired, caught fire and caused a head-on collision with a truck.
If you rent a car, it’s important that you check out the vehicle’s safety before renting it. Before leaving in the vehicle, check out whether it’s been recalled for major safety defects on recalls.gov. If the model has been recalled, ask the rental company whether the vehicle has been repaired.