A bill by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, that would prohibit the sale of used cars that are under a safety recall stalled in an Assembly committee on Tuesday, but Jackson vowed to continue the fight in hopes of moving the bill through the Legislature in January.
Senate Bill 686 was held in the Assembly Business and Professions Committee on Tuesday — 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.”
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 on Tuesday was Fe Lastrella of Vallejo, 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 on Aug. 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 9-1-1 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.
“As a mother, and a grandmother, I cannot comprehend why anyone would oppose this bill,” Lastrella testified in committee. “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.
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 this Sunday.
— Lisa Gardiner is the communications director for state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson.