5 major rental car companies agree on recall plan

Associated Press Modified: September 27, 2012 at 4:02 pm •  Published: September 27, 2012
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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — When Cally Houck lost her two daughters in the wreck of what turned out to be a defective rental car, she thought there must be a rule keeping those vehicles off the road.

"There had to be some sort of law that prohibits this practice," the California lawyer said of unrepaired rentals leased after safety recalls. "We learned there was no such law."

So she took up the cause, knowing she couldn't bring her daughters back but hoping she might help save others.

On Thursday, Houck joined Democratic U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer of New York and Barbara Boxer of California at an announcement in Washington that five of the biggest names in car rentals nationwide have agreed to support legislation that would make it illegal to lease recalled vehicles.

Raechel, 24, and Jacqueline Houck, 20, were killed in a 2004 head-on crash when a power steering hose defect in a Chrysler PT Cruiser caused a fire and the car ran out of control. The Enterprise rental was under a safety recall but hadn't been fixed.

While the senators praised Houck's advocacy along with automotive safety groups that pushed the issue, she thanked the lawmakers and industry "in memory of my treasured daughters."

She said the proposed law is "common-sense legislation that will prevent tragedies like my family endured."

Schumer said the agreement involving Enterprise, Hertz, Avis, Dollar Thrifty and National will pave the way for the bill he expects will be passed during the upcoming lame duck session of Congress.

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