California lawmakers are heading towards enacting a law that can force rental car companies to pull their recalled vehicles off the road. This law if enforced would be the nation’s first law that can curtail rental car companies against their plying recalled vehicles. A state Assembly committee voted 6-2 in favor of a bill named for Carol Houck’s daughters, who died in 2004 while driving a rented car that was the subject of a safety recall.
This California lemon law had been given the right impetus by a mother who testified that such a rule could have saved the lives of her two daughters. According to the mother of the victims Carol Houck, the PT Cruiser her daughters were killed in was rented out three times after the rental company received the recall notice.
Enterprise is the largest car rental company in the US, with $12 billion in annual revenue and 1.1 million vehicles in its fleet. It includes the Alamo, Enterprise and National brands. The Houck sisters, Rachel, 24, and Jacqueline, 20 were killed in 2004 when the steering on a Chrysler PT Cruiser rented from Enterprise failed, in central California. The car crashed into a truck and caught fire. The company had received a recall notice for the vehicle about a month earlier.
According to the investigators hired by the Houck family:
- The power steering fluid line that was the subject of the recall leaked
- This leak, in turn caused the steering to fail
Enterprise fought a wrongful death case brought by the family for five years before admitting negligence. A jury awarded the parents $15 million.
Auto dealers are not allowed to sell or lease cars that have been recalled and this bill should be able close a loophole that allows rental car companies to continue to sell or lease recalled cars.
However, representatives of several rental car companies claim that
- They repair 90 percent of vehicles within 30 days of receiving recall notices
- They are very particular with their safety policies as such it deems such bills unwarranted
- Adopting such a law in California could prompt other States to do the same
- If other States are to follow suit, a patchwork of laws is created that would be difficult for them to follow
- The bill is targeting only their industry unfairly
- The bill is ignoring other vehicle fleets, such as those operated by taxi, limousine and shuttle bus services
- The bill is ignoring other vehicle fleets, such as those operated by private companies and governments
Consumers should be aware of the recall status of the cars they rent. They must ascertain that the cars they rent are safe.
Information given above is not intended as legal advice. You may continue your lemon law claim or any other contention with your automobiles by contacting California lemon law attorneys of Krohn & Moss Ltd., or Call 1-800 US LEMON® (800-875-3666) toll free, to reach Krohn & Moss for your FREE initial consultation.