Popular car-sharing giant Zipcar has found itself embroiled in controversy after facing a hefty $300,000 fine from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA). The reason behind the fine? Zipcar had knowingly rented out vehicles, specifically the 2015-2017 Ford Transit models, that had been recalled due to significant safety concerns.
It was revealed that these Ford Transits, despite the recall notice issued in June 2017, were still being rented out to unsuspecting customers. At the heart of the recall was a rather troubling mechanical issue. The flexible coupling present between the driveshaft and the transmission of the vans was found to be vulnerable to cracking over prolonged use. Such a defect poses a serious risk as it could result in the vehicle unexpectedly losing power while being driven or, even more concerning, the vehicle could inadvertently move while it’s set to park, especially if the parking brake isn’t engaged.
The NHTSA’s decision to impose the fine stemmed from an investigation that the agency initiated back in 2018. The probe was set into motion after an agency employee, in July 2017, had the unsettling experience of renting one such van from Zipcar. The employee later discovered that the van had been part of an unresolved recall, a detail that Zipcar had failed to disclose.
Ann Carlson, the acting administrator for the NHTSA, stated firmly, “Vehicles with open, unrepaired recalls present a palpable safety threat to every road user. NHTSA is committed to enforcing the Safety Act diligently.” Beyond the fine, the NHTSA has mandated that Zipcar submit an exhaustive audit report on all its vehicles with unresolved recalls within 150 days of the consent order. Furthermore, the company is required to revamp its employee training concerning recalls. These revisions will be evaluated by independent legal professionals and subsequently reviewed by the NHTSA.
When approached for a comment on this matter, a representative from Zipcar remained silent. However, the company did release a statement, highlighting that less than 50 vehicles out of its global fleet of 12,000 had been found in violation of the recall notice. They emphasized, “At Zipcar, the safety of our members is our utmost priority, and we regard manufacturers’ recalls with utmost gravity.”
For individuals who have been injured in accidents caused by recalled rental vehicles, it’s important to be aware of your legal rights. A potential lawsuit could be in order to seek compensation for any harm, distress, or danger one might have been exposed to due to the company’s negligence. Filing a product liability lawsuit can be a complex endeavor, necessitating the expertise of seasoned attorneys to ensure that victims receive the compensation they rightfully deserve. The entire process, from gathering evidence to negotiating settlements, requires legal acumen. Potential damages could range from medical bills, emotional distress, to punitive damages.
CONTACT PARKER WAICHMAN LLP FOR A FREE CASE REVIEW
If you or a loved one have been harmed by a recalled vehicle, the national product injury law firm, Parker Waichman LLP, is ready to discuss your potential claim. Our team of dedicated legal professionals is well-versed in product liability cases and can offer invaluable guidance at every juncture. If you believe that you’ve been put at risk because of Zipcar’s oversight, don’t hesitate. Contact us for your free consultation by calling 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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