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Public Statements

Letter to Acting Director Zients, Office of Management and Budget

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-CA23) today sent a letter calling on Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Jeffrey Zients to take steps to protect federal workers from renting vehicles under safety recall while they are traveling on official business.

Boxer and Capps are the lead sponsors of House and Senate legislation -- the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2012 -- which would ensure the safety of America's rental car fleet by preventing rental car companies from renting or selling recalled cars or trucks. The legislation is named in honor of Raechel and Jacqueline Houck, who were killed in a tragic accident in 2004 caused by an unrepaired defect in a PT Cruiser rented from Enterprise that was under a safety recall.

The two California lawmakers wrote in the letter, "This terrible accident drew attention to the fact that car rental companies are not required to repair vehicles under safety recall before they are rented or sold to the public. We have written legislation to close this loophole and are working with our colleagues in the House and Senate to enact this measure into law.

"In the meantime, we believe it is imperative that we protect people from unsafe recalled vehicles," the lawmakers wrote. "So today we are urging the Federal government to put in place policies that will ensure that no Federal employee rents a vehicle under safety recall until it has been fixed."

Senator Boxer and Congresswoman Capps announced the letter at a press conference at Santa Barbara Airport today. They were joined by Cally Houck of Ojai, California, the mother of Raechel and Jacqueline, who along with Hertz and consumer groups has endorsed the new House and Senate rental car safety legislation.

The text of the letter follows:

August 10, 2012

Dear Acting Director Zients,

We are writing today to call on your agency to ensure the safety of all Federal employees driving rental vehicles while on official duty.

In 2004, Raechel and Jacqueline Houck of Ojai, California, were killed in a tragic accident caused by an unrepaired defect in a rental car that was under a safety recall. This terrible accident drew attention to the fact that car rental companies are not required to repair vehicles under safety recall before they are rented or sold to the public. We have written legislation to close this loophole and are working with our colleagues in the House and Senate to enact this measure into law.

In the meantime, we believe it is imperative that we protect people from unsafe recalled vehicles. So today we are urging the Federal government to put in place policies that will ensure that no Federal employee rents a vehicle under safety recall until it has been fixed.

On July 30, 2012, the California Department of General Services announced plans to amend the State's contracts with Enterprise to include specific policies for recalled vehicles. The Director of the Department of General Services, Fred Klass, wrote "Under the terms of the amended contract, Enterprise will be required to repair all recalled vehicles prior to making them available to State employees. In addition, Enterprise will be required to call back any vehicles already being rented to State employees once a recall notice is issued so those vehicles can be exchanged for a non-recalled vehicle."

We urge the Federal government to act now to protect Federal workers from the type of tragedy that this California family endured. We would be happy to work with you on this critical matter.

Sincerely,

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

Lois Capps
Member of Congress


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