Automakers are being criticized for objecting to a bill that would mandate rental car companies to park all recalled vehicles until they are repaired. According to a report in Detroit Press, car manufacturers say they are concerned about a proposed law that could force them to fix rental cars before repairing individual owners’ cars. Automakers are also worried, they say, that rental companies could sue them for lost revenue while recalled vehicles are out of commission.

Objection from Corporations

The opposition to this rental recall bill comes from an alliance representing Detroit’s big three automakers as well as Toyota and Volkswagen among others. The alliance also includes the National Automobile Dealers Association, which represents 16,000 new car dealers. Senator Barbara Boxer, who got major rental firms to agree to back her bill to stop leasing out unrepaired, recalled vehicles, shot down the idea that rental car companies get first dibs at repairs if this legislation passes.

Bill Has Tragic Origins

As is the case with many bills and laws that had tragic origins, this one, named the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act, is named after two young women, sisters, who were killed in 2004 while driving a rental car that had been recalled for a defective power steering hose that could cause a fire. The sisters were killed when the car, which the rental company had not repaired, caught fire and crashed head-on into a truck. Their mother, Cally Houck, has been pushing for congressional action to prevent such accidents in the future.

Saving Precious Lives

It is heartbreaking that it often takes these types of tragedies to bring about positive change in our communities and our country. Unrepaired recalled vehicles – whether they are on our roadways, an auto dealership or in the parking lot of a rental car company ready to be leased out – are extremely dangerous.

As a auto defect lawyer who represents victims of defective auto accidents and their families, I can only hope for the passage of this bill, which requires every company that rents out cars – be it a large, nationwide company or a small local used car dealer – to fix these hazardous defects before someone gets behind the wheel. It is also important to remember that recalled cars not only endanger the lives of drivers and vehicle occupants, but also the lives of everyone one shares the roadways – other drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists and other commuters. Of course, automakers and dealers worry about the financial consequences and their bottom line. But for many of us, this bill is a matter of life and death.