The Senate Commerce Committee will soon be holding hearings on a bill that will prohibit automobile rental agencies from renting cars that have been recalled but have not yet been repaired. The bill is designed to fix a longstanding loophole in United States recall laws. Currently, car dealers are prohibited from selling a car that is the subject of a recall unless the car has been repaired. However, car rental agencies can rent or even sell a car that has been recalled but never repaired.
The law is named the Rachel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Act of 2013. The bill is named after Rachel Houck (24) and her 20-year-old sister Jacqueline Houck. They died in a 2004 PT Cruiser rented from Enterprise Rent-a-Car Agency.
The Houck sisters rented the car on October 7, unaware that the month before Chrysler recalled 439,000 2001 through 2004 PT Cruisers and the 2005 PT Cruiser convertibles. The reason for the recall was that the power steering hose could rub against the transaxle differential cover resulting in a power steering fluid leak and an under hood fire. At the time the Houck sisters were renting the PT Cruiser, Chrysler had already reported 126 PT Cruiser fires. Despite this recall notice, Enterprise continued to rent the PT Cruiser to its customers.
In the Houck’s case, on their way home their PT Cruiser did develop a power steering fluid leak and an under hood fire. The sisters lost control of their car and went into oncoming traffic striking a large 18 wheeler head on. Both sisters were killed. If this new law passes, it will protect unsuspecting customers from renting defective or recalled cars and will hold rental agencies accountable for maintaining safe vehicles.
For nearly 30 years, the car wreck attorneys of Roberts & Roberts have been fighting to make Texas roads safer and the cars Texans drive safer. If you, or someone you know, has been injured in a car crash, motorcycle accident, big rig crash, or because of a defective automobile… call us. The call costs you nothing… it could mean everything.