The Safe Rental Car Act is a piece of legislation that was introduced into Congress on July 28, 2011. The sponsor of the bill is Senator Charles Schumer, a democrat from New York.
The official title of the bill is Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2011. The proposed bill is named after two sisters, Raechel and Jacqueline Houck who were from Santa Cruz, California.
In 2004, Raechel (age 24) and Jacqueline (age 20) were killed in a fiery crash while they were driving a PT Cruiser that had been recalled. They got the rental car from Enterprise Rent-A-Car. The PT Cruiser had been recalled because of a defective steering hose that was likely to leak and catch on fire. However, Enterprise did not repair the steering hose before they rented the car to the Houck sisters.
Campaign to support bill
Raechel and Jacqueline’s mother, Cally Houck, has been leading a campaign to get support for the Safe Rental Car Act. She is doing this with a high-profile news and social media campaign. In order to try and get public support for the Safe Rental Car Act, Houck has turned to online forums, such as Change.org, TV station KABC-TV Los Angeles and USA Today.
Houck said that when a petition was first posted on Change.org, giving people a chance to support the Safe Rental Car Act, they were getting 10,000 signatures an hour. So far, more than 152,000 people have signed the petition. Houck added that many of those who have signed the petition are customers of Enterprise who say they will not rent from Enterprise again until Enterprise supports the Safe Rental Car Act.
At the present time, Enterprise is not supporting the legislation. However, another large rental car company, Hertz, has stated their support for rental car safety legislation.
As it stands now, a rental car company is allowed to rent cars that are under recall even though they have not repaired the recall item. However, a car dealer is not permitted to sell a car that is under recall until the recall item is repaired.
How can you be safe
What can you do the next time you are going to be traveling and renting a car to make sure that the car you rent is safe. Here are a couple of things that you can do.
If there is a model that you are considering to rent, check for recalls on that model before you rent it. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently auditing the repair history of the fleets of all of the major rental car companies. Before renting a particular model, it would be a good idea to scan the online data base of the NHTSA. If the model you want is on the list, it makes good sense to switch to another model.
Another thing you can do is to really know the vehicle that you are renting. For example, your own personal car may be equipped with an anti-lock braking system. However, the car that you rent may only have a standard braking system. This is a safety issue that has an impact on everyone who rents a car.