California Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday vetoed Senate Bill 750, which would have permanently denied owners of BMWs, Mini Coopers and select other vehicle brands the ability to have their car keys quickly and conveniently replaced if they were lost, stolen or broken. The Automobile Club of Southern California opposed the bill.
“We applaud Gov. Brown for doing the right thing by consumers,” said Steve Finnegan, the Auto Club’s government affairs manager. “If SB 750 had become law, these select few car manufacturers would have been permanently exempted from a California law that has enabled thousands of car owners to obtain replacement car keys as soon as they are needed.”
The “key code” law, enacted in 2008 and sponsored by the Auto Club, requires car manufacturers to establish a secure, convenient system enabling registered locksmiths to obtain information needed to replace high-tech keys for vehicle owners. The law was needed because when car manufacturers started equipping vehicles with high-tech computer chip keys in the last decade, vehicle owners were increasingly forced to go to dealerships to obtain replacement keys because locksmiths didn’t have the needed information to create a replacement. If a key was needed at night or on a weekend when the dealership was closed, vehicle owners would have to wait hours or even days to be able to drive their cars again.
BMW and a few other manufacturers were granted a temporary exemption from the law until 2013, and SB 750 would have made that exemption permanent.
“The 24/7 standard for car key replacement should apply uniformly to all manufacturers,” Gov. Brown wrote in his veto message.
Finnegan agreed. “Vehicle owners throughout the U.S., not just in California, have benefited from the ‘key code’ law because the information sharing system between car manufacturers and locksmiths is now used by almost all automakers nationwide,” he said. “The system has been a great success and has enabled motorists across the country to get back on the road as quickly as possible.”