Schumer: Rental car companies are 'rolling the dice' with drivers' lives

ADVERTISEMENT
"Rental car companies are rolling the dice with passengers’ lives each and every time they rent a car that’s under a recall," Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerThe Trail 2016: Unity at last This week: Congress eyes the exits in dash to recess Former Gillibrand aide wins NY House primary MORE (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. 

"This practice has already proved tragic. Most rental companies have now changed their policies, but we need a law to ensure that recalled cars are never again driven off of rental lots. This bipartisan bill is a common sense safety measure, and I’m very grateful that Senator McCaskill has agreed to hold a hearing on it."

The legislation, the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2013, was introduced by Schumer as well as Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiBig Oil makes a push for risky and reckless Arctic drilling GOP divided over 0M for climate fund Overnight Energy: House passes first Interior, EPA spending bill in seven years MORE (R-Alaska), Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerDem suggests race factored into Obama Senate endorsement Obama, Biden back Kamala Harris in Calif. Senate race Tim Scott says he was targeted by Capitol Police MORE (D-Calif.), and Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillWatchdog faults Energy Department over whistleblower retaliation Wagner passes on NRCC bid, backs Stivers Senate Dem: Trump will pick 'handsome' Pence MORE (D-Mo.). 

The bill is named after two sisters who were killed in an auto accident because of a steering hose defect in the rental car they were driving.

The bill bars the rental or sale of cars that are "subject to a safety recall" and authorizes the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to investigate and oversee rental car companies' procedures for safety concerning recalled cars.

The law also lets rental car companies continue to rent out a car if the company follows steps recommended by the manufacturer to prevent risk until the necessary parts to permanently prevent risk are available. The car company has to hold the car and repair it once the parts are available.

According to the statement, the bill has been endorsed by all the major rental car companies. 

Boxer had previously tried to get rental car companies to "voluntarily" agree to make the changes. She held multiple press conferences last year with Raechel and Jacqueline Houck's mother to draw attention to the issue, but just one major company, Hertz, agreed to make the change on its own.

—Keith Laing contributed reporting.