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NHTSA 06-15
Friday, February 20, 2015
Contact: Gordon Trowbridge, 202-366-9550, Public.Affairs@dot.gov


RICHMOND, Va. – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator Mark Rosekind joined elected officials, representatives from the rental car industry, and consumer safety advocates today in calling on Congress to pass legislation that would require rental car agencies and used car dealers to fix safety defects before renting or selling vehicles subject to a recall.

Joined by NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind, elected officials, representatives from the rental car industry, and consumer safety advocates, Foxx continued to call on Congress to pass legislation prohibiting rental car agencies and used car dealers from renting or selling vehicles subject to a recall without first making the necessary fix.

The GROW AMERICA Act includes provisions that would require rental car agencies to remedy any safety defects under recall before renting a vehicle, and require used car dealers to do the same before selling a vehicle. Under current law, new cars must be fixed before sale. However, no similar federal provision exists for rental car agencies or used car dealers. In Richmond, major rental car agencies as well as a leading consumer group joined the department’s call for legislation to ensure rental cars with safety recalls are repaired before a consumer gets behind the wheel.

“Every vehicle under an open safety recall should be repaired as soon as possible,” said Secretary Foxx. “Requiring rental car agencies and used car dealers to fix defective vehicles before renting is a common-sense solution that would make our roads safer. Safety advocates and the rental car industry have taken a stand for safety, and we need Congress to do so as well.”

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx also announced today a $14,000 per day fine against airbag manufacturer Takata for failing to fully cooperate with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) ongoing investigation into the company’s defective airbags. Secretary Foxx made this announcement at his first stop on the last day of the Secretary’s GROW AMERICA Express bus tour, highlighting the importance of investing in America’s infrastructure and encouraging Congress to act on a long-term transportation bill.

“Safety is a shared responsibility and Takata’s failure to fully cooperate with our investigation is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” said Secretary Foxx. “For each day that Takata fails to fully cooperate with our demands, we will hit them with another fine. But, it’s not enough. I am asking Congress to pass the GROW AMERICA Act which would provide the tools and resources needed to change the culture of safety for bad actors like Takata.”

Late last year, NHTSA issued two Special Orders to Takata requiring the company to provide documentation and other material relating to the agency’s ongoing investigation. Takata has not fully cooperated with the investigation.

Consumers can determine if the vehicle they plan to rent or buy has an open recall that needs to be addressed by using NHTSA’s free VIN look-up tool on safercar.gov where uncompleted recalls are quickly and easily identified by entering the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). NHTSA's Safercar mobile app, available for both Apple devices and Android devices, provides users free access to key safety information, including recalls and safety performance.

On February 2, the Obama Administration announced a plan to begin addressing the infrastructure deficit with a $478 billion, six-year surface transportation reauthorization proposal, building on the GROW AMERICA Act, which the Administration first released last year. The plan makes critical investments in infrastructure needed to promote long-term economic growth, enhance safety and efficiency, and support jobs for the 21st century. The plan includes an overall NHTSA budget of $908 million, including increasing the agency’s defect investigation budget to $31.3 million – approximately triple the current level.

The need for these investments is clear. Earlier this month, U.S. DOT released a landmark study, “Beyond Traffic,” that looked at the trends and choices facing American transportation over the next three decades.

These included a rapidly growing population, increasing freight volume, demographic shifts in rural and urban areas, and a transportation system that’s facing more frequent extreme weather events. A key takeaway of the study was that we need to keep investing in transportation for the sake of future generations, and the proposals included in GROW AMERICA would allow us to do just that.

The GROW AMERICA Express included visits to universities, manufacturers, bridges, freight facilities, and highway projects in an effort to raise awareness of America’s infrastructure deficit. Secretary Foxx visited with students, business leaders, transportation stakeholders, and community residents, to discuss the projects that work, projects that are needed, and to ask them to commit to standing up for a future with an American transportation system that is second-to-none. The final stop on the tour will be Washington, DC’s Union Station later today.

To follow the Secretary’s tour, visit http://www.dot.gov/grow-america.

Stay connected with NHTSA: Search for open recalls with VIN look up | Download the Safercar Mobile App for Apple or Android devices | Receive recall alerts by email | Visit us on Facebook.com/NHTSA | Follow us on Twitter.com/NHTSAgov | Watch 5-Star Safety Ratings crash tests on YouTube.com/USDOTNHTSA | SaferCar.gov

U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
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Washington, DC 20590
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