We wrote last month about a bill to be introduced in Congress that would keep rental car companies from renting out vehicles that have been recalled because of safety risks. The bill, “The Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2012,” has now been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill, named after the two girls who died in a recalled car rented to them by Enterprise, would require companies to ground vehicles in their fleet that are under safety recall until they are repaired. Rep. Lois Capps, D.-California, one of the sponsors of the bill, had this to say:
If a recall notice has been issued for a rented a car, that car should be taken off the road until it’s fixed – it’s that simple. Passing this straightforward bill will protect the public’s safety and ensure that what happened to Raechel and Jacquie Houck will never happen again.
We wrote last month about the background events leading up to this bill being introduced, but some of it needs to be mentioned again. Cally Houck, the mother of Raechel and Jacquie, began pushing for legislative changes after her two daughters, aged 24 and 20, were killed in 2004. The Chrysler PT Cruiser they rented from Enterprise began leaking steering fluid and suddenly caught fire before crashing into an oncoming semi-tractor trailer. Even though the car was under a safety recall for the potential fire hazard, it was still rented to the sisters. The Houck family sued Enterprise, and after a lengthy legal fight, the company admitted negligence and was required to pay $15 million in damages. Cally Houck is to be commended for her courage, determination and tenacity. Her efforts will save lives if this bill becomes law. But her bringing the issue to the public’s attention was very important.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched an investigation to see how quickly rental car companies repair vehicles that have been recalled. In February, Mrs. Houck started a petition on Change.org calling on Enterprise, the nation’s largest rental car company, to drop its opposition to an earlier version of the bill that was introduced in the Senate last year by Senators Barbara Boxer, D.-California, and Chuck Schumer, D.-New York. The petition garnered signatures from over 100,000 people, and within days, Enterprise had changed its stance and announced it would be supporting the law. If you agree that rental cars under recall should not be rented to customers of the rental car companies, contact your members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate and ask them to support this needed bill.
Source: ABC News
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