US probes reports that Hertz rented cars with open recalls

DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. government’s road safety agency says it is investigating allegations that Hertz rented vehicles to customers without getting required recall repairs.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says in a document posted Tuesday on its website that it has information indicating Hertz rented Nissan and Ford vehicles with unrepaired safety recalls.

The agency says that would violate the federal Motor Vehicle Safety Act. It has opened an investigation to audit Hertz’s recall record.

Hertz said that it’s reviewing NHTSA’s request for information. “We are committed to providing safe rentals for our customers,” the Florida company said.

NHTSA said Tuesday that it began getting information late last year that Hertz may have rented vehicles with open recalls. “Information gathered by the agency to date, including from vehicle manufacturers, suggests repairs required under multiple NHTSA safety recalls were not made prior to the rental of such affected vehicles to Hertz customers,” the agency said in a prepared statement.

The agency says the vehicles are from the 2018 through 2020 model years.

In 2016, Congress passed a transportation bill with a provision that stops companies from renting vehicles unless recall repairs have been made.

The measure was originally named the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act. The sisters were killed in a 2004 head-on crash when a power steering hose defect in a rented Chrysler PT Cruiser caused a fire and the car went out of control.

The vehicle was rented from Enterprise and had an open safety recall that had not been repaired.

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