U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Mark Rosekind, National Highway Traffic Safety administrator, joined elected officials, representatives from the rental car industry and consumer safety advocates in calling on Congress to pass legislation that would require rental car agencies and used car dealers to fix safety defects before renting or selling vehicles subject to a recall.
At a press conference at Richmond International Airport on Feb. 20, major rental car agencies as well as a leading consumer group joined the department’s call for legislation to ensure rental cars with safety recalls are repaired before a consumer gets behind the wheel.
The Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act — sponsored by Sen. Boxer and Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) — would keep unsafe rental cars that have been recalled off the road.
The bipartisan bill is named in honor of Raechel and Jacqueline Houck, two sisters from Santa Cruz, who were killed in a tragic accident in 2004 while driving a rented Chrysler PT Cruiser. The vehicle had been recalled for a power steering hose defect but had not been repaired.
“Every vehicle under an open safety recall should be repaired as soon as possible,” said Secretary Foxx. “Requiring rental car agencies and used car dealers to fix defective vehicles before renting is a common-sense solution that would make our roads safer. Safety advocates and the rental car industry have taken a stand for safety, and we need Congress to do so as well.”
The GROW AMERICA Act includes provisions that would require rental car agencies to remedy any safety defects under recall before renting a vehicle and require used car dealers to do the same before selling a vehicle. Under current law, new cars must be fixed before sale. However, no similar federal provision exists for rental car agencies or used car dealers.
“On behalf of the American Car Rental Association, I would like to thank Secretary Foxx and Administrator Rosekind for making this safety-recall legislation such a clear and public priority and for supporting legislation championed by Senator Schumer,” said Sharon Faulkner, executive director of the American Car Rental Association (ACRA). “I am pleased to be joined by a few members of my Board of Directors: Robert Muhs from Avis-Budget Group; Richard Broome from The Hertz Corporation and Gordon Reel from Enterprise Holdings.”
“It’s also worth noting that our coalition includes car rental and leasing companies, consumer advocacy groups and one major auto manufacturer – and we all stand together, united in support for this bill,” added Faulkner. “We urge others to join us, and help make this legislation a reality for all consumers throughout the nation.”