Enterprise Rent-A-Car chose profits over driver safety when they opted to exclude a standard safety feature from a fleet of Chevrolet Impalas they purchased between 2006 and 2008.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car, the nation’s largest private buyer of new cars and seller of used cars, made the move in order to save $11.5 millions of dollars in costs, according to the McClatchy newspaper.
The company rented out and eventually sold these vehicles devoid of side-curtain air bags. These air bags have proven to be effective in preventing or decreasing severe injury in car accidents. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will require all automakers to equip vehicles with side curtain air bags by 2013, according to consumeraffairs.com.
Even more distressing is the fact that it was discovered Enterprise advertised the Chevy Impalas as featuring the air bags when the vehicles actually failed to have them.
As an injury lawyer who’s represented clients seriously hurt in car accidents and written about personal injuries in an accident with a rental car, I find it appalling Enterprise made such a deceptive move. The company put their customers at risk and failed to alert them to the risk they were taking.
“I’ve never seen a standard safety feature removed from a vehicle,” said Sean Kane, a manager for Safety Research & Strategies Inc. “That’s what’s so unique about this. I’ve been doing this work for 17 years and, until now, had yet to see this happen.”
Enterprise needs to issue an apology to their customers immediately and an investigation should be conducted to find out if any other vehicles were sold or rented without proper safety features.
More importantly, consumers who have a choice when renting a car, should use the ultimate economic weapon-that is rent a car from a car rental company that supplies an air bag for a comparable rental cost per day or week.
When a consumer is injured in a rental car, and the wreck is caused by a negligent driver, that careless driver’s insurance company must provide the liability insurance. However, we all know that the chances of suffering a more serious injury increase, without one or more air bags in a car.
About the Editors: Shapiro & Appleton& Duffan personal injury law firm is based in Virginia (VA), near the NE North Carolina (NC) border and handles car,truck,railroad, and medical negligence cases and more. Our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono public information service. Lawyers licensed in: VA, NC, SC, WV, DC, KY.