Members of Congress are again pushing for tougher laws on the rental of
defective rental cars. As we have previously highlighted in this
San Diego personal injury blog, there is currently no legislation at the federal level requiring rental
car companies to pull recalled vehicles off the road. While companies
are prohibited from
selling a recalled vehicle, the same does not apply to
renting a recalled vehicle.
The Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Rental Car Safety Act of 2012 is sponsored
by Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, along with Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y.,
and Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill. This is the first time such a bill has
been introduced in the House. A similar bill was introduced in the Senate
last year, but failed to pass.
Like prior legislative efforts, the bill is named after two young women
who died in a 2004 California car accident involving an Enterprise rental
car. A month before Enterprise Rent-a-Car rented a PT Cruiser to Raechel
Houck, 24, and her sister Jacqueline, 20, the rental agency was informed
of a serious safety defect—power steering fluid could leak and ignite
under the hood. Because Enterprise failed to remove the vehicle from its
fleet of rental cars, the two sisters later died in a fiery crash.
“If a recall notice has been issued for a rented car, that car should
be taken off the road until it’s fixed – it’s that simple,”
said Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, who introduced the bill with Rep.
Eliot Engel, D-N.Y.,, and Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill. “Passing this
straightforward bill will protect the public’s safety and ensure
that what happened to Raechel and Jacquie Houck will never happen again.”
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured by a
dangerous or defective product, don’t hesitate to contact a
San Diego product liability attorney
at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.