The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Leasing & Rental Companies Still Protected Under Graves Law

May 28, 2010

ALEXANDRIA, VA - An effort to repeal the federal law prohibiting states from imposing vicarious liability on owners of rented and leased vehicles was further quashed May 26 by the Truck Renting and Leasing Association (TRALA) and a coalition of industry allies, according to TRALA.

The industry victory came when the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee completed work on legislation without including Congressman Bruce Braley's amendment to the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010 repealing the Graves Law.

The Graves Law (49 US 30106), passed in August 2005 as part of the SAFETEA-LU highway bill, created a uniform standard against liability without fault by preempting state vicarious liability laws imposing liability on non-negligent leasing and renting companies. Since its enactment into law, the highest courts in several states, including New York, Florida, and Minnesota, have upheld its authority. Federal circuit courts and the U.S. Court of Appeals have also ruled in support of the Graves Law.

TRALA worked with its own members and other companies to build a coalition of industry stakeholders. TRALA also coordinated with the offices of Congressman Graves, Congressman Boucher, and Congressman Blunt to educate Energy and Commerce Committee members about the Graves Law's provisions that hold negligent vehicle operators liable for their own actions.

"The trial lawyers have been busy in the courts, state legislatures, and the U.S. Congress trying to overturn the common sense provisions of the Graves Law," said TRALA President and CEO Tom James. "Non-negligent vehicle renting and leasing companies should not be held liable without fault and the courts and the Congress agree."


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