In July, The U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill to prevent rental car companies from hiring out cars that have recalls due to safety risks. The new law was proposed after two women died in a rented car that had been recalled by its manufacturer. The car they rented apparently started to leak steering fluid, abruptly starting the car on fire, causing a collision with an oncoming semi-truck.
A 2010 ABC News investigation found that the car was under a safety recall for the potential fire hazard, yet the rental company still leased the car to the two women. The news report caused the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to open an investigation into how fast rental car companies repaired their vehicles after a recall has been issued.
The surviving family sued the rental company, winning after a long legal battle. The company ultimately admitted negligence, and was ordered to pay $15 million in damages to the family.
Earlier this year, the family started a petition, asking the car rental company to stop opposing an early version of the bill. The petition garnered over 100,000 people, and the company changed its position shortly afterwards, announcing that it would support the law.
One of the sponsors of the bill, a California Senator, announced in June that three of the four major rental companies declined to sign a pledge that promises to not sell or rent cars under safety recall until the cars are fixed. The mother of the two killed in the car accident, stated that a law is necessary because "we cannot depend on the [car rental] industry to do the right thing."
Source: ABC World News, "New Law Would Block Rental of Recalled Cars," Randy Kreider, July 10, 2012.
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