Hertz, Enterprise, Among US Rental Car Companies Agree to Park Any Recalled Vehicles Until Defects Are Repaired

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 auto defects 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

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