What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Consumer Protection : H.R. 3. Surface Transportation/Vote on Amendment to Eliminate State "Vicarious" Liability for Car or Truck Rental Companies Provided That There is No Negligence or Criminal Wrongdoing on the Part of Those Companies
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H.R. 3. Surface Transportation/Vote on Amendment to Eliminate State "Vicarious" Liability for Car or Truck Rental Companies Provided That There is No Negligence or Criminal Wrongdoing on the Part of Those Companies
house Roll Call 60     Mar 09, 2005
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

In this vote, the House agreed to an amendment offered by Sam Graves (R-MO) to H.R. 3 that would eliminate "vicarious" liability-holding the company that owns a rented or leased car or truck responsible for the wrongdoing of someone who has rented or leased the vehicle-for car or truck rental companies, provided that there is no negligence or criminal wrongdoing by the company in question. H.R. 3 was a bill to reauthorize the nation's surface transportation (highways, etc.) laws. Progressives opposed the amendment on the grounds that it would allow rental companies to rent or lease vehicles to uninsured drivers, thus leaving the injured victims in accidents caused by those drivers with nowhere to turn for financial relief. They further objected to the fact that the amendment would override the laws of 15 states and the District of Columbia, which currently permit victims to seek compensation for their injuries through vicarious liability. Republicans countered that the amendment would merely bring the laws of a few states into conformity with the laws of most of the others and that it would "restore fair competition to the car and truck renting and leasing industry." (Graves.) They added that rental and leasing companies cannot control where customers drive their vehicles; thus, they can't keep people from driving into those states where vicarious liability is allowed, and therefore they must raise their rates. The amendment passed by a vote 218 to 201, with a number of representatives crossing party lines due in part to interests particular to their districts. Thus, the House inserted language into the bill mandating that states that have tried to preserve the ability of certain car or truck accident victims to seek financial compensation for their injuries may not do so when uninsured motorists driving rental cars cause accidents.

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