Enterprise Rent-A-Car, after admitting negligence in a fatal accident involving one of its cars, has now agreed to back a Senate bill to ban the rental of cars recalled for safety defects.
The St. Louis-based company’s move follows the deaths of Raechel and Jacquie Houck, who were killed in 2004 when the Chrysler PT Cruiser they rented caught fire. ABC News reported that the model of car had been recalled, but Enterprise still rented it to the customers. The Houck family won a $15 million settlement from Enterprise.
The legislation is sponsored by California Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer. In a May 22 letter to Boxer, Enterprise Vice President Tom Laffey said since the accident the company has worked to improve recall response.
“In the more than eight years since the accident, our company and our industry have worked diligently with the automobile manufacturers to enhance the process for receiving and responding to recall notes,” he said.
He said the company generally start by leaning about the customers by looking into their motorbike license or a car license which has contributed to a national study on how quickly rental car companies repair recalled vehicles. The company says that 90 percent of recall vehicles are repaired within 30 days.
In a June 5 letter to Boxer, Enterprise CEO and Chairman Andy Taylor said the company is conscientious when dealing with recalled vehicles.
“We do not rent any vehicles subject to a recall notice until the recall has been remedied,” he said. “We do not sell at retail any vehicle subject to a safety recall which has not been remedied.”