Jacquie and Raechel Houck died instantly when their rental car from Enterprise caught fire and struck a semi on Highway 101. The incident occurred in Northern California, and had major repercussions for the automotive industry. People started to pay more attention to information about recalled automobiles, and rental companies were concerned that many of their vehicles were unsafe.
If the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2012 were to pass, rental companies would be required to ground all vehicles they have that were recalled. These vehicles would have to be either repaired or replaced to mitigate any safety problems. Cally Houck began stressing the need for legislation almost immediately after the fatal incident. She is the mother of the two girls who perished in 2004.
They had rented a PT Cruiser by Chrysler, and it was found to be leaking steering fluid. It suddenly caught fire, and ended up striking an oncoming vehicle. Enterprise was required to pay $15 million in damages after a lengthy legal battle, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration started to investigate how long it took for companies to repair vehicles that were recalled. Interestingly enough, Enterprise now supports the new legislation. This may be due to an online petition that received over 100,000 signatures.
However, it doesn’t seem that anyone but Hertz has really agreed to the pledge individually. Houck claims that the law is necessary because drivers can’t rely on the industry to do the right thing. However, Dollar Thrifty, Avis and Enterprise have all commented on the issue by saying that they respond to safety problems in a timely fashion.
A spokesman for Avis stated that the company does not rent vehicles that are under recall. Dollar Thrifty has stated that it has an outstanding safety record, and this record extends to the repair of safety recalls as soon as they’re notified about them. Rental companies also feel that similar safety judgments need to be made about other aspects of the automotive industry.
For instance, cab and limousine company safety records need to be inspected. Regardless of whether new legislation is passed or not, drivers are certainly going to be paying closer attention to what they rent. The general public wants to be sure that their vehicles are safe.