The American Car Rental Association (ACRA) commended the House and Senate conferees for including The Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act in the federal highway bill conference report filed today.

Introduced in May 2015 by a bi-partisan group of House and Senate legislators, this legislation earned the support of Republican and Democratic legislators on both sides of Capitol Hill during debate over the federal highway program reauthorization.

"Customer safety is a critical part of our overall commitment to our customers and the general public," said Joe Knight, president of ACRA and executive vice president of Fox Rent-A-Car Inc. "And because rental vehicles travel freely across state lines in interstate commerce, ACRA has always strongly supported one federal rental vehicle safety recall standard rather than a patchwork of potentially conflicting state laws."

"We are very pleased that the House and Senate conferees have included the Safe Rental Car Act in the 2015 highway bill conference report," added Knight. "ACRA urges the House and Senate to pass the conference report expeditiously and send it to President Obama for his signature as soon as possible."

The Safe Rental Car Act requires car rental companies to "ground" vehicles in their fleets with open federal safety recalls and to repair or address these recalls prior to renting or selling the car.

Congress opted to include a more expansive small business exclusion in the conference report, exempting rental fleets with 35 or fewer cars from the provisions in the Act (as opposed to fleets with five or fewer cars as introduced). ACRA supported the narrower small business exclusion in the original bills and will continue to work for coverage of all rental cars across the nation under the provisions of the Act, according to the organization.

"Passage of the Safe Rental Car Act has been a priority for ACRA's members for several years — a testament to our members' commitment to the safety of our customers," said Sharon Faulkner, ACRA's executive director. "Our members' existing voluntary commitment to prevent the rental or sale of recalled, unrepaired rental cars will become the law of the land when this bill is signed into law — a major accomplishment for our members and customers."

"ACRA sincerely thanks Sens. Boxer and Schumer and Reps. Capps, Butterfield, Schakowsky and Jones for the introduction of the Safe Car Rental Act in the Senate and House and for their diligent work for its enactment," added Faulkner. "ACRA also thanks Sens. McCaskill, Thune, Inhofe, Nelson and Murkowski and Reps. Upton and Pallone for their work to include the Safe Car Rental Act in the final highway bill conference report."