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New Law Bans Car Rental Company Use of Recalled Vehicles

A new law bans rental car companies with vehicle fleets of 35-cars or more from renting out a recalled vehicle before it has been repaired. Sounds like a good idea, right? And it seems a little strange that this was not on the books before. But it was not and, as is often the case, this law came to exist because people were hurt by its absence.

It took effect this week, reports the Detroit News, and the woman responsible for its introduction is a mother, Cally Houck. She lost two daughters to a car crash in California in 2004, which involved a recalled rental vehicle. Houck reportedly lobbied in Congress "for years" until the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act was approved last year.

A Common Sense Idea

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx issued a statement about the recalled vehicle rental ban which is now federal law. "When a family picks up a rental car on vacation, they should be able to expect it is free of any known safety defect. I thank Congress and the safety advocates who helped turn this common-sense idea into law."

Foxx is right that this rule seems sensible. Nonetheless, safety advocates did not manage to extend the no recalled-vehicles-rented-until-repaired logic to used car dealerships, as initially attempted, so the recall vehicle prohibition won't apply under those circumstances and recall cars can still be sold. Still, Houck, who lost her two daughters more than a decade ago, was thrilled with the initial victory. Advocates have vowed to keep working to expand the prohibition on recalled vehicles.

Parents React

"I'm thrilled that the Safe Rental Car Act named for my beautiful, treasured daughters, Raechel and Jacqueline, is now the law of the land. But I'm worried about the loaner-car loophole for car dealers and remain committed to closing that dangerous safety gap," Cally Houck said, according to Detroit News, in a statement distributed on Wednesday by the Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety group.

Houck was not the only parent to lose a child and get involved in passage of this safety law. Alexander Brangman, whose daughter died in a rented 2001 Honda Civic in 2014, said in a statement, "If this law was in existence when my cherished, beautiful daughter Jewel rented a car, she would still be alive today."

Injured in an Accident?

If you were injured in an accident, or lost a loved one in a crash, speak to a lawyer. Talk to a lawyer and tell your story. Many personal injury attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to assess your claim and explain your options.

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