A new bill to mandate car rental companies to test and inspect cars before renting them to anyone else in the state passed the state Senate and is headed to the Assembly.
The bill, AB 939, is a response to the recent discovery that several companies were failing to properly inspect cars rented to people with no health insurance and with high auto insurance premiums.
The state House voted overwhelmingly in February to pass SB 441, which requires car rental and lease companies to conduct tests on the vehicles they lease.
That legislation, like the bills SB 439 and AB 919, requires car rentals to be available for inspection by the state Department of Public Health and Human Services, which then can issue a citation to the company that failed to comply.
The Department of Revenue and the Consumer Credit Bureau will administer the inspection program, which will be overseen by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which would also have the authority to fine the companies.
A study by the Colorado Department of Transportation found that fewer than one in five car rentals in the Colorado market in the first half of 2016 were inspected annually.
The study also found that only two percent of rental car inspections were performed by the companies themselves, and that only 9 percent of the inspections resulted in citations issued.
The bills would also require car rental providers to conduct more frequent and more thorough inspections, as well as to submit to a state-wide inspection program for every rental vehicle they lease in Colorado.
A new bill mandates that rental cars be inspected annually by the department of transportation, which can issue citations to the car rental company that fails to comply with the bill.
(Courtesy of the Colorado Division of Transportation) The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Jared Zemmour, told the Denver Post that the bill would create a new program of inspection that would require all rental cars to have at least one inspection conducted by a local inspection agency and to submit a monthly inspection report to the department.
“I don’t think that there is a system for inspecting cars that we have in place,” Zemma said.
“It’s really going to be up to each individual car rental service to be proactive in having a proactive program that meets their needs.”
The bill is likely to face a tough road in the Senate.
The Senate voted 50-48 on Feb. 3 to pass AB 940, which mandates the state DOT to administer and enforce the inspection requirements in SB 442, a similar bill.
That bill was not enacted.
AB 939 would require the department to administer a mandatory inspection program in order to implement the law, as required by SB 440.
Under the bill, a rental car inspection company would have to conduct at least six inspections a month, and the inspections would include a complete record of all tests performed, including all vehicle and driver tests, and results of all of the testing.
The department would have the discretion to issue citations for noncompliance.
A bill signed by Gov.
John Hickenlooper, which passed the Senate last week, requires that inspections be conducted by the Department of Environmental Quality, which also has the authority under SB 444 to issue fines and take enforcement action against a rental company for failing to follow the law.
A report from the Colorado Consumer Protection Bureau found that the department was not following its own procedures in the enforcement of the law in 2016.
The report noted that inspections were not conducted on a timely basis, that the Department was not enforcing the law appropriately, and many of the agencies involved did not report their inspections to the Colorado Attorney General’s office, as they are required to do under the law and were required to report their results to the Department on a monthly basis.