How Can Rental Car Companies Get Away With This?

U. S. Senate Considering Bill To Stop Them From Renting Or Selling Recalled Vehicles

The Senate is holding hearings on a law that would close the loophole on rental company recall obligations. Currently, they can legally rent or sell recalled vehicles without notifying the consumer about a defect that can cause the driver to crash. The new law would hold rental companies to the same standards as car dealers and prohibit them from putting vehicles out on the road ntil the defect is repaired. Why are these companies exempt?

The Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2015 was introduced by U.S. Senators Charles Schumer, Barbara Boxer and Claire McCaskill, and Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Bill Nelson and has the support of auto manufacturers, rental companies, insurance companies and consumer safety organizations. 

Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2015

The Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2015 is named after two sisters who were tragically killed in a car crash in 2004. The young women had rented a 2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser from Enterprise and were driving home from their mother’s home on Highway 101 in California when the Cruiser crossed the grassy median and ran head-on into a tractor-trailer and burst into flames. 

Crash investigators discovered that a month before the women rented the car, Daimler Chrysler had sent safety recall notices identifying a power steering hose leak in 435,000 of its 2002 through 2005 PT Cruisers that could result in fire. According to Enterprise records, the defective automobile had never been repaired and had been rented four times since the recall, including the deadly fourth time to the Houck sisters. 

Weaker Proposed Law Would Still Allow Recalled Vehicles on the Road

Taking a huge step backwards, Senator John Thune has also introduced proposed legislation that would allow companies to rent defective vehicles as long as they notify the consumer of the recall. Defective cars don’t belong on the road. Whether the driver owns or rented the vehicle, the risks are exactly the same.

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