New Bill Introduced to Prohibit Rental of Recalled Vehicles

By Kirsti Correa

The Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act, S. 3706, was introduced by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Dec. 21 to prohibit both the rental and sale of vehicles under recall until the vehicles have been fixed.

Manufacturers must recall vehicles that do not meet federal safety standards or that have safety-related defects. Auto dealers are prohibited from selling such recalled vehicles under current law.

S. 3706 is aimed at holding car rental companies to the same standards as auto dealers. Efforts to push this legislation have been ongoing as U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein (both D-Calif.) introduced S. 3502 in August to include car rental companies under title 49 of the U.S. Code that applies to manufacturers and dealers only.

This newest bill also includes a Republican co-sponsor, Sen. Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, as well as co-sponsors Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Robert Casey (D-Penn.) and Kirsten Gillbrand (D-N.Y.), as well as Boxer and Feinstein.

According to S. 3706, car rental companies will be allowed to sell a damaged vehicle with a junk title for parts or scrap only.

The bill also requires companies to ground recalled vehicles no later than 24 hours after they receive notice or up to 48 hours for fleets that include more than 5,000 recalled vehicles. 

In some instances, rental companies can continue to rent recalled vehicles if steps — outlined by the manufacturer to eliminate the safety risk — are taken while the company waits for parts to fix the defect.

Under the bill, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will oversee rental companies' recall safety practices.

The American Car Rental Association (ACRA) and all major car rental companies, including Avis Budget, Dollar Thrifty, Enterprise, Hertz and National, support the bill.

The bill will likely have to be re-introduced, however, since the close of the 112th session of Congress is Jan. 3.


Click here to see all our past coverage on this topic of recalls in the industry.

Comment On This Story

Name:  
Email:  
Comment: (Max. 10000 characters)  
Please leave blank:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.

Newsletter: Sign up to receive latest news, articles, and much more.

Read the latest

Auto Focus Blog: A blog covering fleets, auto rental and the business of cars

Autonomous Vehicles and the Changing Role of the Fleet Manager

With fewer drivers and substantially longer fleet lifecycles, fleet managers will pivot to new job functions.

2017: Fleet Mix Will Be Paramount

Car rental companies are migrating to vehicle segments with better residual values, though not without bumps in the road.

Auto Rental Summit: Five Trend Lines

Taking in the seminars, discussions, and networking at the 2016 Auto Rental Summit, trend lines emerged around shifts in model mix, data protection issues, increasing labor costs, workforce engagement, and new platforms to rent cars.

Job Finder: Access Top Talent. Fill Key Positions.