The campaign was launched this week by Cally Houck, a mom whose two daughters were killed in an accident when they drove a recalled car rented to them by Enterprise. Raechel, 24, and Jacqueline, 20, died in 2004 when the power-steering fluid leaked in their recalled PT Cruiser and caught fire, causing them to lose control of the car, which crashed into a semi tractor-trailer. A month before the fatal crash, Enterprise received the safety recall notice from Chrysler but did not fix the car, instead continuing to rent the defective PT Cruiser to three other customers before renting it to Houck’s daughters. Eventually, after a five-year legal battle, a jury unanimously awarded the plaintiffs $15,000,000.
“I want to keep this from happening to another family and to be sure that my daughters' memory is preserved,” Houck said. “My daughters were incredible human beings. Until there is real accountability and Enterprise has a responsibility to its customers, we are still going to have problems like this. I created this petition because I have to go forward on this. My daughters' memory demands it.”
Houck launched her campaign on Change.org when she learned that Enterprise is allegedly working behind closed doors to oppose an amendment that Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) plan to include in an upcoming surface transportation bill. The amendment would prohibit car rental companies from renting recalled cars until they are fixed, a regulation that already applies to car manufacturers and new car dealers. This week, Enterprise’s competitor, Hertz, reached an agreement with a leading consumer group calling for grounding recalled rental cars until they are fixed.
“Cally has taken an incredibly traumatic event, the death of her two daughters, and sworn to do anything to keep this tragedy from repeating itself,” said Change.org Senior Campaigner Tim Newman. “Thousands of people, from Cally’s close friends to Enterprise customers to concerned drivers, have left emotional comments of support on her petition. Change.org is about empowering anyone, anywhere to demand action on the issues that matter to them, and it’s been powerful to watch Cally’s campaign resonate with so many people.”
Enterprise Holdings is the nation’s largest rental car company and owns the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alamo Rent A Car, and National Car Rental brands. The company reports annual revenue of $14.1 billion.
To add a signature to the Houk petition go here. To date over 86,000 signatures have been gathered.