[Congressional Bills 112th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[S. 1445 Introduced in Senate (IS)]

112th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                S. 1445

To designate certain conduct by car and truck rental companies relating 
  to motor vehicle safety defects and recalls as unfair and deceptive 
acts or practices to be regulated by the Federal Trade Commission, and 
                          for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                             July 28, 2011

 Mr. Schumer (for himself, Mr. Blumenthal, Mrs. Boxer, Mrs. Feinstein, 
  and Mrs. Gillibrand) introduced the following bill; which was read 
     twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
                             Transportation

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To designate certain conduct by car and truck rental companies relating 
  to motor vehicle safety defects and recalls as unfair and deceptive 
acts or practices to be regulated by the Federal Trade Commission, and 
                          for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe 
Rental Car Act of 2011''.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (1) Covered vehicle.--The term ``covered vehicle'' means a 
        motor vehicle that--
                    (A) is rated at 26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight 
                or less;
                    (B) is rented or leased without a driver; and
                    (C) is part of a motor vehicle fleet of 5 or more 
                motor vehicles that is used for rental or lease 
                purposes by a rental company.
            (2) Defect, motor vehicle, motor vehicle safety, motor 
        vehicle safety standard.--The terms ``defect'', ``motor 
        vehicle'', ``motor vehicle safety'', and ``motor vehicle safety 
        standard'' have the meanings given such terms in section 30102 
        of title 49, United States Code.
            (3) Person.--The term ``person'' has the meaning given the 
        term in section 1 of title 1, United States Code.
            (4) Rental company.--The term ``rental company'' means a 
        person who--
                    (A) is engaged in the business of renting or 
                leasing covered vehicles; and
                    (B) uses for rental or lease purposes a motor 
                vehicle fleet of 5 or more covered vehicles.

SEC. 3. PROHIBITION ON RENTAL, LEASE, AND SALE OF DEFECTIVE CARS AND 
              TRUCKS.

    (a) Prohibition.--
            (1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph (2), it 
        shall be unlawful for a rental company to rent, lease, or sell 
        a covered vehicle on or after the earlier of the date of 
        receipt by the rental company of a notification ordered by the 
        Secretary of Transportation under subsection (b)(2)(A) of 
        section 30118 of title 49, United States Code, or the date on 
        which a manufacturer gives notice to owners, purchasers, and 
        dealers pursuant to subsection (c) of such section that the 
        covered vehicle contains a defect related to motor vehicle 
        safety or does not comply with an applicable motor vehicle 
        safety standard, unless the defect or noncompliance has been 
        remedied prior to rental, lease, or sale.
            (2) Exception.--Paragraph (1) shall not apply to a 
        notification ordered by the Secretary under subsection 
        (b)(2)(A) of such section if enforcement of the order is set 
        aside in a civil action to which section 30121(d) of such title 
        applies.
            (3) Date of receipt of a notification.--For purposes of 
        paragraph (1), a rental company shall be considered to have 
        received a notification described in such paragraph 5 business 
        days following the date on which such notification was mailed.
    (b) Notification During Rental or Lease.--If, during a rental or 
lease period of a covered vehicle, a rental company receives a 
notification pursuant to subsection (b)(2)(A) or (c) of section 30118 
of such title that the covered vehicle contains a defect related to 
motor vehicle safety or does not comply with an applicable motor 
vehicle safety standard, the rental company shall immediately--
            (1) contact the renter or lessee and any authorized driver 
        for whom the rental company has immediate contact information 
        to inform such renter or lessee and authorized driver of the 
        defect or noncompliance; and
            (2) offer to provide such renter, lessee, or authorized 
        driver a comparable alternative vehicle, at no additional cost 
        to the renter, lessee, or authorized driver, until the defect 
        or noncompliance has been remedied.
    (c) Effective Date.--This section shall take effect on the date 
that is 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 4. ENFORCEMENT BY FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION.

    (a) In General.--Violation of section 3 of this Act shall be 
treated as a violation of a rule under section 18 of the Federal Trade 
Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 57a) regarding unfair or deceptive acts or 
practices. The Federal Trade Commission shall enforce this Act in the 
same manner, by the same means, and with the same jurisdiction, powers, 
and duties as though all applicable terms and provisions of the Federal 
Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 41 et seq.) were incorporated into and 
make a part of this Act.
    (b) Penalties.--Any person who violates this Act or any regulation 
prescribed under this Act shall be subject to the penalties and 
entitled to the privileges and immunities provided in the Federal Trade 
Commission Act as though all applicable terms and provisions of the 
Federal Trade Commission Act were incorporated in and made part of this 
Act.
    (c) Authority Preserved.--Nothing in this section shall be 
construed to limit the authority of the Commission under any other 
provision of law.

SEC. 5. ENFORCEMENT BY STATES.

    (a) Right of Action.--Except as provided in subsection (e), the 
attorney general of a State, or other authorized State officer, 
alleging a violation of this Act or any regulation issued under this 
Act that affects or may affect such State or its residents, may bring 
an action on behalf of the residents of the State in any United States 
district court for the district in which the defendant is found, 
resides, or transacts business, or wherever venue is proper under 
section 1391 of title 28, United States Code, to obtain appropriate 
injunctive relief.
    (b) Rights of Federal Trade Commission.--
            (1) Notice to federal trade commission.--
                    (A) In general.--Except as provided in subparagraph 
                (C), the attorney general of a State, or other 
                authorized State officer, shall notify the Federal 
                Trade Commission in writing of any civil action under 
                subsection (a), prior to initiating such civil action.
                    (B) Contents.--The notice required by subparagraph 
                (A) shall include a copy of the complaint to be filed 
                to initiate such civil action.
                    (C) Exception.--If it is not feasible for the 
                attorney general of a State, or other authorized State 
                officer, to provide the notice required by subparagraph 
                (A), the State shall provide notice immediately upon 
                instituting a civil action under subsection (a).
            (2) Intervention by federal trade commission.--Upon 
        receiving notice required by paragraph (1) with respect to a 
        civil action, the Federal Trade Commission may--
                    (A) intervene in such action; and
                    (B) upon intervening--
                            (i) be heard on all matters arising in such 
                        civil action; and
                            (ii) file petitions for appeal of a 
                        decision in such action.
    (c) Construction.--Nothing in this section shall be construed--
            (1) to prevent the attorney general of a State, or other 
        authorized State officer, from exercising the powers conferred 
        on the attorney general, or other authorized State officer, by 
        the laws of such State; or
            (2) to prohibit the attorney general of a State, or other 
        authorized State officer, from proceeding in State or Federal 
        court on the basis of an alleged violation of any civil or 
        criminal statute of that State.
    (d) Limitation.--No separate suit shall be brought under this 
section if, at the time the suit is brought, the same alleged violation 
is the subject of a pending action by the Federal Trade Commission or 
the United States under this Act.

SEC. 6. CONSTRUCTION.

    Nothing in this Act shall be construed to prohibit an individual 
from seeking any remedies available under any provision of Federal or 
State law.

SEC. 7. NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION REPORT ON SALES 
              OF MOTOR VEHICLES TO RENTAL COMPANIES WITHOUT STANDARD 
              SAFETY FEATURES.

    (a) In General.--Not later than 180 days after the date of the 
enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration shall submit to Congress a report on all 
matters relating to the sales of motor vehicles to rental companies 
without safety features that are normally included in the sales of such 
motor vehicles to consumers.
    (b) Elements.--The report required by subsection (a) shall include 
the following:
            (1) A description of the buying practices of rental 
        companies with respect to motor vehicles that do not include 
        safety features that are normally included in the sale of such 
        motor vehicles to consumers.
            (2) A description of the implications of such practices on 
        the safety of consumers.
            (3) The recommendations of the Administrator with respect 
        to the regulatory and legislative actions that can be taken to 
        protect consumers with respect to such practices.

SEC. 8. NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION REPORT ON SALES 
              OF MOTOR VEHICLES BY RENTAL COMPANIES KNOWN TO INCLUDE 
              SAFETY DEFECTS BEFORE SUCH VEHICLES ARE RECALLED.

    (a) Initial Report.--
            (1) In general.--Not later than 180 days after the date of 
        the enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the National 
        Highway Traffic Safety Administration shall submit to Congress 
        a report on sales of covered vehicles--
                    (A) by rental companies that are aware, including 
                by notice posted on the Internet website of the 
                Administration, such covered vehicles may contain a 
                defect related to motor vehicle safety or may not be in 
                compliance with an applicable motor vehicle safety 
                standard; and
                    (B) during the period--
                            (i) beginning on the date on which such 
                        rental companies become aware that such 
                        vehicles may contain such defects or may not be 
                        in compliance as described in subparagraph (A); 
                        and
                            (ii) ending on the earlier of the date of 
                        receipt by the rental company of a notification 
                        ordered by the Secretary of Transportation 
                        under subsection (b)(2)(A) of section 30118 of 
                        title 49, United States Code, and the date on 
                        which a manufacturer gives notice to owners, 
                        purchasers, and dealers pursuant to subsection 
                        (c) of such section that such covered vehicles 
                        contain a defect related to motor vehicle 
                        safety or do not comply with an applicable 
                        motor vehicle safety standard.
            (2) Elements.--The report required by paragraph (1) shall 
        include the following:
                    (A) A description and analysis of the frequency of 
                sales of covered vehicles described in such paragraph.
                    (B) A discussion of the effects of such sales on 
                consumers.
                    (C) The recommendations of the Administrator, if 
                any, on legislative and administrative action that 
                should be taken to address such sales or mitigate such 
                effects.
    (b) Follow-Up Report.--
            (1) In general.--Not later than 1 year after the date on 
        which the Administrator submits the report required by 
        subsection (a)(1), the Administrator shall submit to Congress a 
        report on the sales of covered vehicles as described in such 
        subsection during the period beginning on the date on which the 
        Administrator submits the report required by such subsection 
        and ending on the date on which the report is submitted under 
        this paragraph.
            (2) Elements.--The report required by paragraph (1) shall 
        include the following:
                    (A) A description, analysis, discussion, and 
                recommendations as described in subsection (a)(2) but 
                with respect to the period described in paragraph (1) 
                of this subsection.
                    (B) An identification and analysis of differences 
                between the findings of the Administrator with respect 
                to the report required by subsection (a)(1) and the 
                findings of the Administrator with respect to 
                subparagraph (A) of this paragraph.
                    (C) A discussion of the effects of the provisions 
                of this Act on the sales of covered vehicles as 
                described in subsection (a)(1).
                                 <all>