Sen. Barbara Boxer (D.-California) joined the mother of two daughters who died in a rental car crash, last month to ask why three of the nation’s four major rental car companies refused to sign a pledge promising not to rent or sell cars under safety recall until those cars are fixed. Sen. Boxer said that only Hertz had agreed to the pledge, but that Enterprise, Avis and Dollar Thrifty had refused to sign. The Senator stated:
I want to say to America’s families: You demand that all these companies sign this simple pledge…. Tell your families that Hertz is the only one that signed this pledge.
Cally Houck, whose daughters Jacqui and Raechel died in the fiery crash of an Enterprise rental car, said at the news conference that the law Sen. Boxer and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D.-New York) are proposing, which would ban the rental of recalled cars, is necessary because “we cannot depend on the industry to do the right thing.” She stated further: “You don’t rent or sell a car under safety recall. That’s all Sen. Boxer and Sen. Schumer are asking for.”
Representatives of Enterprise, Avis and Dollar Thrifty all responded to Sen. Boxer’s news conference by saying their companies address safety recalls in a timely fashion. All three companies claim they support federal legislation to ensure rental car safety. If they really do support it, the legislation should pass with little difficulty. I hope that will happen.
Cally Houck’s daughters, Raechel and Jacqui, died in 2004 when the Chrysler PT Cruiser they rented from Enterprise apparently began leaking steering fluid and caught fire before crashing into a truck. As we wrote in an early Report the car had been under safety recall for the potential fire hazard, but had still been rented to the sisters. The Houck family sued Enterprise, and after a lengthy legal fight, the company admitted fault and was required to pay $15 million in damages to the family.
After a report by ABC News, NHTSA launched an investigation to see how quickly rental car companies repair vehicles that have been recalled. The nation’s rental car companies together own more than 1.5 million vehicles, with hundreds of thousands subject to recall in any given year. Hertz, Avis Budget, Enterprise and Dollar Thrifty account collectively for more than 90 percent of the U.S. rental market.
Cally Houck should be commended for her fight to make rental cars safe for folks who rent these vehicles. She fought a tough fight to right the wrong that cost her two daughters their lives. Thank goodness this woman didn’t quit, but continued her fight to make all of the rental companies do the right thing.
Source: ABC News
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