Senate Passes Jackson Bill, First of Its Kind in the Nation, To Prevent Sale of Unsafe, Recalled Cars

May 30, 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 passed off the Senate floor. The vote was 22-12.

The first bill of its kind in the nation, Senate Bill 686 would prohibit car dealers and rental car companies from selling used cars that are under a federal safety recall until they’ve been fixed. Current, long-standing 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.

“Until they’ve been fixed so they are safe, recalled cars shouldn’t be on the road, and they shouldn’t be for sale,” Jackson said.  “It’s as simple as that. This bill will help prevent senseless tragedies and keep our roads safer for all of us. I’m pleased to see this bill move one step closer to becoming law.”

“This helps send a message to car dealers to stop playing recalled, unsafe ‘car roulette,’” said Rosemary Shahan, president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, the sponsor of the bill.

Recalled cars have had serious defects such as failing brakes, axles that break, and electrical fires. Many dealers already check a used vehicle’s safety recall status by calling the car manufacturer or checking the manufacturer’s website. A retired car dealer who testified in support of SB 686 when it was in the Judiciary Committee testified that he always checked a car’s safety recall status and fixed the car, and that it was good for business.

The bill was recently amended to delay implementation of the bill pending the creation of a federal database of safety recall information by the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration.

The bill now advances to the Assembly.

Related legislation is being pursued in the U.S. Senate that would prevent rental car companies from leasing or selling cars that are under a safety recall until they have been fixed. It is named The Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2013, after two young sisters from Ojai who died in a 2004 crash while driving a recalled, unfixed rental car.

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Contact: Lisa Gardiner (916) 651-4019, lisa.gardiner@sen.ca.gov