Auto Insurance Sparks Several Introductions


Automobile insurance was a surprising front runner for number of bills introduced in the insurance realm this year, second only to workers’ compensation bills.  Typically, a line of insurance will have a catastrophic event or an unhealthy marketplace to spark this much interest.  Nonetheless, there were approximately 20 bills introduced relating to automobile insurance.  Many are spot bills, but there are some substantive proposals as well.  They are as follows:

AB 1536 (Miller): Allows a person to use a wireless device while driving if the person is using a voice-operated, hands-free device.

AB 1551 (Torres): Provides that no insurer shall, in issuing or renewing a private automobile insurance policy to a peace officer, member of the Department of the California Highway Patrol, or firefighter, with respect to his or her operation of a private passenger motor vehicle, increase the premium on that policy for the reason that the insured or applicant for insurance has been involved in an accident while operating his or her private passenger motor vehicle in the performance of his or her duty at the request or direction of the employer.

AB 1708 (Gatto): Requires an insurer issuing policies of automobile liability insurance or motor vehicle insurance to issue, upon the request of the insured, verification as to the existence of the coverage to a mobile electronic device.  Allows a person required to provide evidence of financial responsibility, under those circumstances, on a mobile electronic device.

AB 1854 (Brownley): Makes it a misdemeanor for a person to install, reinstall, or rewire a vehicle's computer system or air bag safety system, including, but not limited to, the air bag safety system on-board lighting indicators, so that it falsely indicates the air bag safety system is in proper working order, and for a person to distribute or sell a previously deployed air bag component, knowing that the air bag component was part of a previously deployed inflatable restraint system.

AB 1888 (Gatto): Makes several changes to law governing commercial driver violator schools.  Among other things, allows the court, after a deposit of a fee or bail, a plea of guilty or no contest, or a conviction, to order or permit a person who holds a class A license, class B license, or commercial class C driver's license to attend a commercial driver violator school.  Specifies procedures for the confidentiality of the record of conviction.  Prohibits the point count for the violation from being added to the driver's record if the driver is licensed with a class A license, class B license, or commercial class C driver's license and is allowed to, and completes, a course of instruction at a licensed commercial driver violator school.  Requires DMV to add the violation point if the driver incurs a point violation within 12 months after the date the driver completes the course of instruction at a commercial driver violator school.

AB 1996 (Huber): Spot bill relative to vehicles, driver's record, violation point counts.

AB 2061 (Norby): This bill would allow a person with a provisional driver's license to transport passengers who are under 20 years of age to or from the school or school-authorized activities of the licensee.  The bill would also delete the requirement that, under these circumstances, the licensee keep in his or her possession a signed statement from the school principal, dean, or school staff member.

AB 2065 (Galgiani): Existing law defines the repair of motor vehicles to mean all maintenance of and repairs to motor vehicles, as specified, and excludes from the definition, among other things, repairing tires, changing tires, lubricating vehicles, installing light bulbs, batteries, windshield wiper blades, and other minor services.  This bill would delete repairing and changing tires from that exclusion list.

AB 2067 (Cedillo): Spot bill relative to unlicensed drivers.  May be Cedillo’s driver’s license for illegal immigrants bill.

AB 2113 (Hueso): Declares the intent of the Legislature to enact subsequent legislation that would authorize the DMV to enter into a memorandum of understanding with one or more federal agencies for the purposes of facilitating the crossing of the border and improving economic development between this state and Mexico and that would permit the department to issue an enhanced driver's license or identification card for the purposes of crossing the border between this state and Mexico.

AB 2313 (Grove): Spot bill relative to driver’s license applications.

AB 2324 (Gatto): Spot bill relative to vehicle sales contracts.  Code section mentions insurance.

AB 2505 (Ma): Defines "Certified aftermarket crash part" means a replacement crash part that meets both of the following requirements: (1) The part has been certified by an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited standards developer that develops and maintains quality standards for competitive crash repair parts; (2) The part is identified by a unique serial number affixed to it that enables its full traceability through the ANSI certifying entity.  This bill is sponsored by CAPA.

AB 2552 (Torres): Makes it a crime for a person who has any level of cannabinoids or synthetic cannabinoid compound in his or her blood or urine to drive a vehicle.  Establishes a rebuttable presumption that a person had cannabinoids or synthetic cannabinoid compound in his or her blood or urine at the time he or she drove a vehicle if the substance is present in his or her blood or urine at the time of a chemical test performed within three hours after driving.

AB 2589 (Bradford): Spot bill relative to uninsured motorist coverage.

AB 2739 (Huber): Spot bill relative to rental vehicles. This bill is sponsored by Enterprise.

SB 990 (Vargas): Existing law, as of July 1, 2012, prohibits a dealer from displaying or offering for sale at retail a used vehicle unless the dealer first obtains a vehicle history report from the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS).  If the NMVTIS report indicates that the vehicle is or has been a junk or salvage automobile, or the vehicle has been reported as such by a junk or a salvage yard, or an insurance carrier, or the certificate of title contains a brand, a dealer is required to post a specified disclosure and provide the retail purchaser with a copy of the report upon request prior to sale.  This bill would revise that prohibition to authorize a dealer to also obtain the vehicle history report from a commercial data provider, as defined, and would make conforming changes.

SB 1071 (Harman): Spot bill relative to automated traffic enforcement systems.

SB 1310 (Simitian): Makes various changes to the law prohibiting use of cell phones while driving.  Increases fines.  Requires DMV to test applicants knowledge of laws.  Would assess a violation point on a 2
nd violation.

SB 1460 (Yee): Requires an automotive repair dealer or insurer who uses or directs the use of replacement crash parts, as defined, to follow specified procedures when using replacement crash parts, to expressly notify the automobile owner regarding the use of specific categories of crash parts in making the repairs, and to provide disclosures as to the warranty for those parts.  This bill is sponsored by the Personal Insurance Federation of California.