Back in 2004, Jacqueline and Raechel Houck were killed in a fiery crash. An investigation later found out that these two sisters had rented a recalled car from Enterprise. The Houck sisters had rented a PT Cruiser. What they didn’t know was the fact that this PTC Cruiser was under recall for a safety defect with its power steering hose. As it turned out, these power steering hoses were prone to catching on fire, which is just what happened. Once their rental car caught on fire, the sisters lost control over the car and slammed into an 18-wheeler.
Enterprise had known about the recall nearly a month earlier. Despite this fact, they rented out their fleet of PT Cruisers. If they had just fixed this defect, these two young sisters would still be alive. A court ruled that Enterprise had to pay the girls’ parents $15 million in damages. However, the family of these two girls wants to make sure that this kind of thing never happens again. They are trying to get the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2013 passed.
Although it has been a long time coming, senators from Alaska, New York, California and Missouri joined forces to make sure that this bill gets passed. They feel that, if they do not get involved, there is too great of a chance that this law could just get put on the back burner. They are expected to attend a hearing on this proposal later this month.
Oddly enough there are already laws in place to keep this kind of thing from happening. However, car rental companies are somehow not included in these laws. The current laws state that no dealership can sell any recalled cars to consumers. However, they say nothing about companies renting these cars to consumers. The idea of this Safe Rental Car Act is to close this loophole, and keep this kind of stuff from happening again.
According to the bill that these senators are fighting for, rental car companies would have to remove recalled cars from their line-up within 24 hours after receiving a safety recall notice. Failure to do so would, of course, result in a large fine or possibility imprisonment in certain situations.
During a media briefing, the senators said that car hire companies are playing games with consumers’ lives. Instead of removing these cars from their line-up or fixing them, they continue to offer them to consumers, knowing that it could endanger their lives. The good news is that most car rental companies have already changed their policies regarding this matter. However, this law needs to be put in place to make sure that a recalled car is never rented to a consumer again.
The senators are, of course, right on this matter. Just because the big name car rental companies have changed their policies does not mean that lesser known car rental companies have. This law has to be put in place to ensure that all consumers change their policies.