New law could force rental car companies to not rent safety recall cars



ORLANDO, Fla. - Thousands of tourists rent cars every day from Orlando agencies, but many of those vehicles could have been recalled and the company did not have to fix the problem.

A new law could soon change that. But WFTV found several rental car companies are making changes.

Hertz, Enterprise, Avis, Dollar Thrifty and National have all agreed to not rent or sell cars that have a safety recall.

But for Cally Houck, the changes have been a long time coming. She lost her two daughters, Raechel and Jacquie, in 2004 after their rental car caught fire.

Enterprise gave the girls a Chrysler PT cruiser, even though they knew about a recall that could result in a fire.

During a pre-trial testimony, Entreprise executives admitted there was no corporate policy requiring recalled cars to be held back from rental. In fact, it was left up to regional managers.

But after the Houck family's insistence and backed by California Sen. Barbara Boxer and New York Sen. Charles Shumer, five major car rental companies have agreed to put a hold on recalled cars within 24 hours of getting a notice.

Orlando tourists are happy about the decision.

"If a car's got a recall, it should not be out on the road anyway, it should never be rented," said Hank Melton. "I expect a car to be safe first, then secondly to be clean and accommodating."

Lawmakers will vote on the bill that would require the rental companies to put a 24-hour hold on recalled cars in November.