Should Rental Companies Be Required To Fix Recalled Cars? (UPDATED) Page 2

February 24, 2012

Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Similar bits of legislation have come up before at the state level, but they've not met with much success. However, Hertz has expressed support of the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act, and with the Houck's mother leading the charge, it may be difficult for legislators to say "no" -- unless of course, they table the full transportation bill. Which isn't out of the question, given how many people on the left and the right have criticized the bill. Even Ray LaHood says it's "the worst transportation bill" he's seen in decades.

We'll keep you posted.

* UPDATE: We just received a statement from Laura Bryant with Enterprise Holdings indicating that, as of yesterday, Enterprise announced "formal support for federal legislation to oversee the way car rental companies manage the safety recall process for vehicles in their fleets". (Which, BTW, is not quite the same as saying that Enterprise supports the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act in particular). Here's an excerpt from her email.

For the past two years there has been an ongoing discussion about this issue – a discussion that began in earnest following the resolution of a lawsuit in which Enterprise Rent-A-Car accepted responsibility for an accident involving one of its vehicles that claimed the lives of two young women, sisters Raechel and Jacqueline Houck.  The vehicle was under recall at the time. The tragedy of the Houck sisters’ deaths can never be undone, and all of us at Enterprise are profoundly sorry.

Through the court process we accepted responsibility for the accident, and since the accident in 2004, Enterprise and others in our industry have made many significant changes and improvements in the process for inspecting and repairing recalled vehicles. Then, as now, we wanted to ensure that this tragedy is never repeated. Given all the changes and improvements we have made since that fatal crash, today that vehicle would never be rented.

Today, our customers can rest assured that we have the operating procedures and policies in place to ensure that the vehicles they rent from us are properly maintained and meet the highest standards for safety.

But even with all of these safeguards, a number of individuals and organizations have asked for additional oversight in the form of federal legislation. In the past, we believed that this step was unnecessary, but a growing number of people, including our customers and business partners, clearly want more assurance on this critical issue. We hear them – and what we’ve heard has caused us to rethink our stance. 

[h/t JV]

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