As you may know, commercial truck operators are covered by a wide array of state and federal regulations regarding the care and maintenance of their vehicles as well as the selection and training of their drivers. In an apparent loophole however, many of these regulations do not apply to rental truck companies. This discrepancy may be factor behind the number of rental truck accidents recently.

A few years ago, a California Newspaper conducted an investigation into one rental truck company’s fleet, finding that many of the trucks were long overdue for safety inspections. The issue has now come to the forefront once again after a fatal accident involving a rental truck at a college football game.

When the employees of the rental truck company were interviewed as part of the newspaper investigation, they said that routine safety inspections were often skipped because they were understaffed. Many of the rental locations are independent dealers with no vehicle service capacity.

The recent fatal accident has prompted one U.S. Senator to call for closer scrutiny of these rental truck companies. Senator Blumenthal has asked the Department of Transportation to conduct a review of federal safety standards.

When you are driving down a highway in San Francisco and see a large rental truck, there is a good change that the first time the driver of that truck ever sat behind the wheel of such a large vehicle was earlier that same day. Adding to that potential risk factor the strong possibility that the truck has not been properly maintained, leads a high risk of a serious accident.

Hartford Courant “Sen. Blumenthal Seeks Federal Review of Rental Truck Safety Standards,” DANIELA ALTIMARI, Nov. 28, 2011