Bill would require emergency information as part of car purchases

Cars are for sale along Creekside Road in Valencia on Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

Car buyers looking to purchase new wheels may soon add emergency contact information to the purchase forms if a new bill introduced in the state legislature gets approved.

Assembly Bill 2796, authored by Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, and co-authored by Assemblymen Steven Choi, R-Irvine, and Adrin Nazarian, D-Sherman Oaks, as well as Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, would require dealers to add the contact information to the transfer of ownership paperwork. Lackey said Monday he thought of his career as a highway patrolman and the length of time it can take to notify next of kin after fatal crashes when crafting the legislation.

“I made over 40 death notifications,” he said. “The longer it takes to get that message to the family, the more tragic it is.”

Legislative documents stated the bill “would require law enforcement personnel, when practicable, to expeditiously provide emergency contact information from the system, either verbal or written, to the emergency department of a general acute care hospital receiving a motor vehicle crash victim who is unconscious or otherwise incapable of communication.”

The bill is modeled after one in New Jersey that required the creation of an emergency contact registry when filing for a temporary license plate from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

“We applaud Assemblyman Lackey for drawing attention to this critical issue by proposing an efficient way for loved ones of a crash victim to be notified much sooner,” said Shaun Rundle, deputy director for the California Peace Officers’ Association. “The public benefit here could not be clearer.”

The bill was introduced Friday, the last day of the legislative session to introduce proposed laws, and is yet to be assigned to a committee, according to legislative information posted Monday.

Should the bill be signed into law, it would go into effect by Jan. 1.

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