Car rental companies agree not to rent recalled vehicles

By Jerry Limone
The major U.S. car rental companies have agreed to support legislation banning the renting of recalled vehicles, according to a news release issued by the U.S. senators who sponsored the bill.

Hertz, Enterprise Holdings, Avis Budget and Dollar Thrifty endorsed the legislation, as did the American Car Rental Association.

While car dealers are prohibited from selling a recalled automobile, rental car companies are not barred from renting or selling one. The new Senate bill would require that rental companies ground a recalled vehicle no later than 24 hours after the rental company gets the recall notice. Rental companies will have up to 48 hours for recalls that include more than 5,000 vehicles in their fleet.

Also, the law would give the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration authority to investigate and police the recall safety practices of car rental companies.

The car rental companies called the proposed law “consensus legislation.” It was sponsored by Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).

The senators were joined for the Thursday announcement by Cally Houck of California, whose two daughters were killed in 2004, when their rented Chrysler PT Cruiser began leaking steering fluid and caught fire before crashing into an oncoming truck. Enterprise rented the vehicle to the girls despite a safety recall for problems with the steering column.

After a court case, Enterprise had to pay the Houck family $15 million in damages.

In memory of the Houck daughters, the Senate bill is named the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2012.
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