The driver of a Budget rental truck lost control around 9 a.m. in southbound lanes of I-95 near the Northwest 79th Street exit, veering across lanes of traffic, overturning, and slamming into the concrete barrier.
Five more accidents in the southbound lanes followed, as drivers swerved to avoid the truck, and when concrete chunks from the truck’s collision with the barrier wall flew into northbound lanes, they caused five more accidents.
Four people went to Jackson North Medical Center, while one went to Jackson Memorial Hospital.
While the driver of the Budget Rent A Car caused the accident, the reality is that Budget Rent A Car will not be responsible for more than $20,000.00 in damages unless the renter purchased supplemental liability coverage. This is not a luxury that is afforded to you or I, If we lent our cars to a friend. The reason for this favorable treatment to rent a car companies is The Graves Amendment, which protects the multi-million dollar rental car industry at the expense of individual citizens.
In 2005, the U.S. Congress passed the Safe, Accountable, Efficient Transportation Equity Act now. See 49. U.S.C.A. 30106.
49 U.S.C. 30106 provides in pertinent part as follows:
Section 30106. rented or leased motor vehicle safety and responsibility
In General- An owner of a motor vehicle that rents or leases the vehicle to a person (or an affiliate of the owner) shall not be liable under the law of any State or political subdivision thereof, by reason of being the owner of the vehicle (or an affiliate of the owner), for harm to persons or property that results or arises out of the use, operation, or possession of the vehicle during the period of the rental or lease, if–
the owner (or an affiliate of the owner) is engaged in the trade or business of renting or leasing motor vehicles ; and
there is no negligence or criminal wrongdoing on the part of the owner (or an affiliate of the owner).
Automobile accidents in Florida occur frequently, as do car accidents with rental vehicles. To that end, every year in Florida there are more than five (5) million rental cars on the roadways and in the hands of foreign and out of state drivers. These drivers are unfamiliar with the vehicles they are driving, as well as the streets and highways upon which they are traveling. Yet the companies that put these cars on our roads are able to limit their liability to a maximum of $10,000 person/$20,000 accident.