Budget Car Rental blames possible tire thieves after SUV sends driver, kids spinning out of control

CBC Budget Rental Story Sherry Ebner 12.11.2023

The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

California introduced a law last year that clearly says the rental companies themselves need to ensure the vehicles they rent are “mechanically sound and safe to operate.”

“It puts them on notice,” said Michael Brooks, the executive director at the Center for Auto Safety in the U.S.

By Rosa Marchitelli, Jenn Blair
December 11, 2023

When Norm Wylie’s 12-year-old daughter Sammy, who has Type 1 diabetes, asked if he would take her and a friend on a road trip from Winnipeg to Minneapolis, Minn., to see her favourite YouTube stars, he couldn’t say no.

“She gets needles, insulin injections every day and she never asks for anything, never complains. So when she said she wanted to do this, I of course said yes.”

The group had scored hard-to-get tickets to see the Sturniolo Triplets, YouTube personalities with more than 5.5 million subscribers.

The plan was to rent a newer — and safer vehicle — than the one Wylie owns to make the almost 1,500 km drive to Minneapolis and back.

Instead, they got an SUV with tires so bald it sent them spinning out of control on a highway in a vehicle that legally, shouldn’t have been on the road. According to one automobile consumer protection expert, it’s a sign of the ongoing maintenance and safety issues plaguing some rental companies.

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