Planning on traveling, drinking, renting a car, or any combination of the three between now and January 1? Chances are, you answered “yes.” Planning on getting into a car wreck? Chances are, you answered, “no.” Integral to the likelihood of being involved in a car accident is the fact that there are more cars on the road at this time of the year than the rest. It has been estimated that during the Christmas/New Year’s holiday, the number of long-distance trips increases by 23%, and approximately 91% of long-distance holiday travel is by personal vehicle.
Some of those cars, perhaps even the one you’re driving, are rentals. While some people respect their rented car, many people drive around in their borrowed vehicle thinking, “it’s only a rental.” In fact, many places don’t charge for minor damage to a rental, even if they say they will. That kind of flippant attitude doesn’t help avoid accidents.
Another factor that doesn’t help is the significant number of people who invite alcohol to their Christmas Eve and New Year’s celebrations, and then get in their cars to go back home or to another party. During the 2015 holiday season, the total estimated number of deaths caused by alcohol was 1,200. Another statistic shows the number of DUI-related traffic stops on Christmas Eve was up by one-third compared to an average day. New Year’s Eve stats show that approximately 42% of all accidents are due to driving while under the influence. This can leave renters who choose to imbibe in a tough spot. Since most rental contracts restrict operation to the primary licensed driver, such individuals may feel they have to choose between breaking the rental agreement (which will cost them money if the car gets into an accident or gets pulled over) and getting home safely.
Car rental contracts are notoriously complex with numerous conditions, especially those regarding insurance. Each state requires a minimum amount of insurance. Drivers can opt out of purchasing it if their own auto insurance seems like enough coverage. That being said, an accident involving a rental car may end up bringing in the renter’s insurer, the insurer of other drivers involved in the crash, the rental car agency, as well as the renter’s credit card company. It can get complicated even in the simplest of circumstances.
Additionally, there may be mechanical problems that can contribute to an accident. Rental car companies sometimes fail to properly maintain vehicles and may knowingly rent out one that’s unsafe. To catch some of these hazards from reaching the streets, federal law now requires rental car agencies to fix open safety defects before allowing vehicles to be rented out. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has the power to punish violators.
If you have any questions about this topic, or if you have been injured in an accident involving a rental vehicle, contact experienced Louisiana rental car accident attorney Chris Roy Jr, founder of the Chris J. Roy, Jr. Law Firm. Having practiced law for nearly 30 years, he takes pride in helping accident victims in Alexandria, Pineville, Rapides Parish, Grant Parish, Avoyelles Parish, Allen Parish, Vernon Parish, and throughout Central Louisiana. Benefit from his assistance and knowledge by contacting the firm for a free initial consultation. Call 1-318-487-9537 to get help today.