Avis Budget Group Inc., Hertz Corp., Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc.,
and Enterprise Holdings Inc.–the four biggest auto rental companies
in the US–have consented to not sell/rent any recalled vehicles
that hadn’t been fixed. These companies make up over 90% of the
car rental market.
Although Hertz and Enterprise had already had stopped selling or renting
recalled vehicles with
that had yet to be repaired, the companies are now making formal promises
to abide by an actual policy. They are also supporting legislation that
would place the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in charge
of making sure the industry complies with auto recall announcements.
While federal law hasn’t allowed car dealers to sell vehicles that
were recalled for safety defects, rental cars companies have not been
held to this mandate. This bill, called the “Raechel and Jacqueline
Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2012,” would require that within 24
hours of receipt of a safety recall announcement, or within 48 hours of
a recall involving over 5,000 autos in a company’s fleet, rental
companies would have to stop renting or selling the affected vehicles
until the safety issue is remedied. (The four companies finally put their
support behind the bill following some modifications, including that a
recalled car can be rented out if there is a manufacturer-approved stopgap
measure that temporarily eliminates the risk until the needed parts for
the actual repair became available. A damaged recalled vehicle can be
sold as junk.) Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Barbara Boxer
(D-Calif.)had introduced the legislation.
Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2012 was inspired
by the California car crash deaths of two sisters–Jacqueline and
Raechel Houck, ages 20 and 24 in 2004. They were riding in a Chrysler
PT Cruiser, a rental that had just been recalled a month before (over
a power steering fluid leak defect linked to steering loss and/or a hood
fire) when they collided with a tractor-trailer. Enterprise had rented
the vehicle to the girls as an upgrade but without fixing the safety issue first.
In 2010, a court awarded the girls’ parents $15 million in
California auto products liability damages
against the rental company for their wrongful deaths.
Auto Defects Lawsuit
Vehicle recalls are issued for good reason and it is important that those
responsible for the safety of an auto make any necessary repairs before
allowing anyone to operate the car again. An auto defect can lead to catastrophic
consequences for the car’s occupants and anyone else that ends up
being involved in a traffic crash with the vehicle.
If you believe that you auto defect in a car that you rented caused your
personal injury accident or the wrongful death of a loved one, you should
contact our auto products liability law firm right away. You may have
grounds for civil lawsuit not only against the rental company but also
the auto manufacturer and other liable parties.
Largest rental car companies agree not to use recalled vehicles, Los Angeles Times, September 28, 2012
H.R. 6094: Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2012
Parents get $15 million from Enterprise after daughters die in crash, VC Star, June 21, 2010