The Houck sisters were killed when the steering in the PT Cruiser they were driving failed. The car crossed the center median and hit a big rig traveling in the opposite direction.
Two years ago, we wrote about the jury’s $15 million verdict against Enterprise Rent-A-Car in connection with the girls’ deaths. As it turns out, the girls had rented the vehicle from Enterprise. What they didn’t know was that the Cruiser had been recalled because of problems with the steering. Instead of getting the vehicle fixed, Enterprise rented it to them anyway. Enterprise’s Northern California manager testified that it was company-wide policy to rent out recalled vehicles if recalled vehicles are the only ones left on the lot.
One would think that, after the verdict, Enterprise would have changed its ways. But it hasn’t.
So last year, Senators Boxer and Shumer introduced a simple bill that would prohibit any car rental company from renting vehicles that are under safety recall.
And what did Enterprise do? It opposed the bill, of course.
Houck’s parents took matters into their own hands. Backed by a petition signed by 100,000 people, they asked Enterprise to sign a pledge that it would not rent cars that had been recalled until the cars were fixed.
But Enterprise refused. In fact, so did Avis and Dollar Thrifty. Only Hertz agreed.
Quite an industry.