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

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"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 Schumer (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 Murkowski (R-Alaska), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and Claire McCaskill (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.