(Hartford, CT) – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) today urged House leadership to pass the Senate’s bipartisan transportation bill containing a critical measure to review safety requirements for large rental vehicles. Blumenthal, who called on U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to review apparent gaps in federal oversight of rental trucks last fall, introduced an amendment requiring such a review that was passed with the Senate’s transportation bill last month.
“Alarming reports of safety violations and, most recently, a tragic accident involving a rental truck in Connecticut, have raised serious concerns about the safety and reliability of rental trucks driven by millions of Americans each year,” Blumenthal said. “While I am pleased that the Senate adopted my provision demanding a closer look at accident data and safety requirements for rental trucks, I believe it underscores the larger importance of passing a bill that is so critical to the safety and integrity of our nation’s highways and transportation systems and those who travel on them each day.”
Senator Blumenthal’s Rental Truck Safety amendment was adopted and passed with the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act in the Senate last month. Blumenthal’s amendment directs the U.S. Department of Transportation to conduct a study of accidents involving rental trucks, evaluating crash fatality and injury statistics, analyzing State and local laws regulating rental truck companies, and assessing rental truck maintenance programs. It also requires any recommendations for legislation that the Secretary determines to be appropriate.
Rental vehicles similar in size and carrying capacity to commercial vehicles - many of which may be older and more heavily used than commercial vehicles - are not subject to the same stringent federal safety standards as commercial fleets.