October 1, 2012—Sacramento, CA—Senator Barbara Boxer joined forces with Senator Charles Schumer of New York and Cally Houck, the woman whose two daughters died in a defective rental car, to sponsor legislation to make rental cars safer, according to the USA Today. The legislation sprang from Houck’s efforts to hold rental car dealers accountable for their vehicles and prohibit them from renting recalled cars.
Raechel Houck, 24, and Jacqueline Houck, 20, died in a 2004 crash when a defective power steering hose in a PT Cruiser the girls had rented from Enterprise caused a fire. It turned out that the car was under recall for that defect but had never been repaired.
Houck was shocked to learn that no legislation existed that required rental car companies to comply with recalls or prevented them from renting unsafe cars. She immediately began to lobby for such laws. So far, Enterprise, Hertz, Dollar, Thrifty, Avis, and National car rental companies have all supported the legislation. These companies handle about 93 percent of all rental car business in the United States. The American Auto Association, or AAA, has also endorsed the legislation as a “common-sense” measure.
The bill will be considered in the lame-duck session of Congress at the end of the year and is expected to pass relatively easily.
My congratulations go out to Ms. Houck and her supporters on sponsoring this landmark legislation.
Legal Issues For Rental Car Retailers
Because rental car companies are the largest purchasers of new vehicles in the United States, and because they trade their cars so frequently, many of the issues that plague other industries regarding company-owned vehicles seem to bypass rental car companies. The present legislation highlights the fact that many of these companies have ignored the implications that others are required to consider, such as safety recalls.
Recalls are made because vehicles may be unsafe. However, car rental companies could pad their bottom line by using the reasoning that they could ignore these recalls due to the fact that they would be rotating the vehicles out so soon that the next owner could easily take care of the problem. Unfortunately, in the case of the two Houck girls, this decision had deadly consequences.
A California accident injury attorney can help victims of accidents resulting from a company’s negligence by allowing them to recover damages for injuries or wrongful death.