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Yale U-Haul Accident Calls Safety of Rental Vehicles Into Question

After a tragic accident at the Harvard-Yale football game involving a U-Haul rental vehicle, legislators and safety officials are taking a deeper look into rental vehicles' safety standards. Greater regulation of rental trucks is being advocated following the New Haven truck accident.

According to the New Haven Police Department and the Yale Daily News, the accident occurred the morning of November 19, 2011. Members of a Yale fraternity had rented a U-Haul truck for tailgating. Witnesses say the vehicle swerved and accelerated in the Yale Bowl's D-Lot parking area. The U-Haul then crashed into three people.

Tragic Outcome

One victim was taken to the hospital but did not survive the "multiple blunt traumatic injuries" she suffered. The death was declared an accident by the Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Two other women injured in the truck accident were treated and released from area hospitals.

The driver of the U-Haul is a Yale junior, and he asserts that a vehicle malfunction caused the accident. The Yale Daily News reports that, as of November 27, 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration listed at least six complaints about pedal spacing and unpredictable acceleration in the same vehicle model as the U-Haul truck involved in the accident.

In response to the accident, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal has raised concerns about potentially insufficient federal oversight of rental vehicles' safety. In a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Senator Blumenthal urged him to consider whether rental trucks should be subject to the same "stringent uniform safety standards that apply to commercial vehicles" to help prevent losses caused by these unfortunate truck accidents.

Source: Yale Daily News, "Legal ramification of crash still unclear," James Lu and Daniel Sisgoreo, Nov. 28, 2011

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