Two years ago I appeared on WJCT’s First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross to alert drivers about rental cars with open recalls and used cars that are sold with open recalls to unsuspecting consumers.
I’m pleased to share that I recently returned to First Coast Connect to report that because of the tenacious efforts of a mother’s advocacy, it is now illegal for rental car companies to rent vehicles with recalls without repairing them. Cally Houck fought for the law after her daughters, Raechel and Jacqueline Houck, died when their rental car caught fire and crashed. The federal law requires rental companies to remove vehicles from their rental inventory until the recalls are repaired. Sally’s advocacy was like those of Candace Lightner, MADD’s founder, and Joel Feldman and Dianne Anderson, EndDD’s founders.
The Safe Rental Car Act should ensure that consumers who rent a vehicle are not driving a car with a known, recalled defect. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said, “When a family picks up a rental car on vacation, they should be able to expect it is free of any known safety defect.” Millions of people rent cars every year and now they can do so expecting rental companies won’t rent or sell cars they know are defective. Time will tell how diligent the rental car companies will be in complying with their legal obligation to get recalled vehicles fixed before putting people on the road in them.
There is still more to do. Unfortunately, this law does not apply to used car dealers. No one should be allowed to sell a vehicle that is under recall. We will continue to advocate for that change until it becomes law.