Jackson Vows To Continue the Fight for Consumer Car Safety

July 02, 2013

SACRAMENTO – A bill by State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) that would prohibit the sale of unsafe, used cars that are under a safety recall stalled in an Assembly committee today, but Jackson vowed to continue the fight in hopes of moving the bill through the State Legislature in January.

Senate Bill 686 was held in the Assembly Business and Professions Committee today – no vote was taken – because the bill lacked the votes to pass out of committee.

“We lost the battle today, but I will continue to fight for this vital consumer protection,” Jackson said. “Californians who buy used cars should have the same confidence in the safety of the vehicles they’re buying as those who buy new cars. And until they’ve been fixed so that known safety defects have been corrected, recalled cars shouldn’t be on the road, and they shouldn’t be for sale. It’s as simple as that. This bill will prevent senseless tragedies and make our roads safer for all of us.”

Current federal law already prohibits car dealers from selling new cars when they are under a federal safety recall. This bill would extend the same prohibition to the sale of used cars.

Testifying in support of Senate Bill 686 today was Fe Lastrella of Vallejo, CA, mother of the late Cleofe Lastrella Saylor and Chris Lastrella, grandmother of Mahala Saylor, and mother-in-law of CHP Officer Mark Saylor. Her family members were killed in a car crash in Santee, CA, on August 28, 2009, when a used 2009 Lexus that a dealer in El Cajon loaned to CHP officer Mark Saylor accelerated out of control while his family was en route to 13-year-old Mahala's soccer game. The 911 recording of Chris Lastrella calling for help has been heard worldwide.

Although the car was not under a safety recall at the time of the crash, Lastrella spoke as an advocate for car safety as a result of her experience with the deadly crash. In committee, Lastrella testified, “As a mother, and a grandmother, I cannot comprehend why anyone would oppose this bill.  Everyone should care about the safety of their customers. Everyone should be able to trust that when they buy a car, rent a car, or are loaned a car by a licensed dealer, the car is safe.  I hope and pray that you will vote for passage of SB 686.  No family should have to suffer the type of horrific loss that we have been through.”

SB 686 will be amended to be named The Saylor - Lastrella Auto Safety Act.

“It’s only a matter of time before California stops car dealers from engaging in recalled, used car roulette,” said Rosemary Shahan, president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, the sponsor of the bill.
SB 686 is supported by consumer groups, safety organizations including the Safe Kids California coalition, and the nation's largest auto insurer, State Farm. Its major opposition is the California New Car Dealers Association and AutoNation.
Watch the hearing testimony here:

Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) in support of SB 686  https://www.dropbox.com/s/21ngmiee0sehwvk/HBJ%20SB%20686%20Opening.mp4

Testimony of Salvatore Cerrito, a former car dealer, in support of SB 686  https://www.dropbox.com/s/j7y8f7qjqx5doek/Salvatore%20Cerrito%20SB%20686.mp4

Testimony of Fe Lastrella, whose family members were killed in a tragic crash in 2009, in support of SB 686 https://www.dropbox.com/s/e29zy4bcfe9mxvz/Fe%20Lastrella%20SB%20686.mp4

The bill was recently amended to delay its implementation pending the creation of a federal database of safety recall information by the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration. NHTSA is expected to issue a ruling on the federal database by July 7.
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