Reintroduced by four senators (Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.; and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.), the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2013 prohibits the rental of unrepaired vehicles.
According to this legislation, rental companies with fleets of more than 5,000 vehicles have up to 48 hours to ground recalled vehicles. Companies with smaller fleets must ground recalled vehicles no later than 24 hours after they receive notice. The legislation allows a rental company to continue to rent the vehicle if a manufacturer’s recall notice specifies steps that can be taken to eliminate the safety risk until parts are available. In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will have the authority to investigate and police rental companies’ recall practices.
All three major rental car companies, Hertz, Enterprise Holdings and Avis Budget Group, as well as the American Car Rental Association (ACRA) support this bill.
The bill evolved last year after months of negotiations with major car rental companies and ACRA. It was introduced in the Senate last December, but didn’t get passed due to the close of the 112th session of Congress in January.
“Rental car companies are rolling the dice with passengers’ lives each and every time they rent a car that’s under a recall,” said Schumer. “This practice has already proved tragic. Most rental companies have now changed their policies, but we need a law to ensure that recalled cars are never again driven off of rental lots. This bipartisan bill is a common sense safety measure, and I’m grateful that Sen. McCaskill has agreed to hold a hearing on it.”