The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced a Hertz investigation over allegations the company is violating recall laws.
According to a Tuesday announcement, the agency has already obtained evidence the rental business broke safety rules. Its primary concerns are recalled Ford Explorers and Nissan Altimas it says the company failed to repair before loaning out to customers. The Hertz investigators will review documents dating back to 2018 to check for non-compliance. Hertz has promised to work with the NHTSA on the investigation.
The NHTSA has had a busy year. Ongoing recall issues, concerns over autonomous driving and questionable automaker safety reviews have left the agency overwhelmed with work. The Hertz investigation is the third of its kind this month.
Unfortunately, recall warnings are often ignored, not only by businesses, but by consumers as well. Drivers are still dying from Takata airbag inflators, which regulators recalled over a decade ago. Until the auto-industry and car owners take the NHTSA seriously, probes like the Hertz investigation are likely to continue.
A possible explanation for this issue is that, compared to other safety enforcement arms of the government, the traffic administration is viewed as less strict. For example, the National Transportation Safety Board has a near legendary status for its thorough civil aircraft accident investigations and hefty punishments for safety violations. Nevertheless, the NHTSA’s successful track record, and its reputation for fining companies millions of dollars, should convince the public otherwise. Although it could take months, the Hertz investigation will likely end poorly for the rental company if it is found to be non-compliant.
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