— By Joanne M. Tucker
H.R. 6094, the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2012, was introduced in the House of Representatives yesterday by Reps. Louis Capps of California, Eliot Engel of New York and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois.
The legislation aims at amending title 49 of the United States Code to prohibit the rental of recalled vehicles until the defect or noncompliance by the manufacturer is remedied. H.R. 6094 looks to extend title 49’s existing motor vehicle safety standards — which apply to car manufacturers and dealers — to car rental companies.
In response to this newly proposed bill, the American Car Rental Association (ACRA) said that it supports preventing the rental of any vehicles subject to a safety recall notice, including in car sharing services. “To this end, ACRA and its member companies continue working with all stakeholders to codify what most of the car rental industry already voluntarily has enacted and to help create a uniform standard, both of which will provide customers even greater confidence,” the association said.
Capps said that she is working with “all stakeholders” on the bill. “I’ve been proud to work with Cally Houck, the mother of Raechel and Jacqueline, auto safety advocates and Hertz to put forward this commonsense proposal, and I will continue working with all stakeholders to reach agreement on a legislative solution that protects consumers by prohibiting rental companies from renting or selling unrepaired recalled vehicles, with no exceptions,” Capps said.
H.R. 6094 includes similar goals as an earlier Senate version to the bill, S. 1445, the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2011, which was co-authored by Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).
“ACRA agrees with the overall goal of the Capps-Engel Bill. Unfortunately, like the Schumer-Boxer Bill, it does not currently address legitimate and practical implementation concerns,” the association said. “ACRA remains optimistic that a consensus can still be reached so that Congress can pass legislation soon.”
Peter True, a spokesperson from Sen. Boxer’s office, told Auto Rental News that Boxer plans to re-introduce legislation in the Senate in the coming weeks before the August recess. True said the bill will be a revised version of S. 1445. He said the changes will reflect conversations between Hertz and advocacy organizations after Boxer sent letters in May to four of the major car rental companies urging them to sign a pledge that each would promise to never rent or sell a vehicle subject to a recall notice.
According to statements from Boxer, Hertz’s response was the only out of the four that met her pledge’s statement. (Read more and see a video of her announcement here.)
True said that Boxer is “certainly supportive” of the House bill.