Updated: Boxer Withdraws Amendment on Rental Recalls

While the issue of including rental car companies in the recall legislation may come up again on the U.S. Senate floor during the reauthorization of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Sen. Barbara Boxer withdrew her amendment that would include rental car companies in recall legislation.

The withdrawal, however, is likely only a temporary withdrawal because at the Senate commerce committee meeting on Dec. 14, Boxer emphasized that she plans to return to the issue of rental car recall legislation: “I would just like to ask you, Mr. Chairman, if you will work with me to ensure that when we do get to the floor you will give me your commitment that this amendment will be part of any agreement to consider this bill.”

She said she understands there are “people who have problems with this,” though she doesn’t “get why,” and is “willing to hold off.”

The American Car Rental Association (ACRA) President Bob Barton had this statement to make about the legislative withdrawal:

The American Car Rental Association and all of its members believe safety is a serious concern for all of the motoring public, not just those in rental cars. We, as an industry continue to use best practices to address any recalls received from the manufacturers on a timely basis to ensure our fleets are safe to the renting public. We would encourage further study and research on this issue and will actively provide assistance to any governmental agency seeking assistance in the matter.

The Truck Renting and Leasing Association's (TRALA) prepared statement on Boxer’s withdrawal included these key concerns with the proposed amendment:

• NHTSA is conducting an ongoing study of the rental industry and so it makes no sense for Congress to act before that process is completed.
• 24-hour notification processes are unworkable due to one-way rentals, unmanned kiosks, etc.
• The amendment does not differentiate between "safety" recalls and those that do not pose a real threat to the operator of the vehicle.
• The rental industry is being unfairly targeted as the only industry to have these new regulations applied to even though our safety record and systems in place are safer than other industries and the general public.
• Most importantly, this is simply a solution in search of a problem due to the fact that we are unaware of any rentals under recall that have caused an accident in the past several years.

To view the Senate commerce committee meeting on Dec. 14, click here. (Boxer's discussion on the recall amendment is toward the end of the meeting.)

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