CARSON CITY (KXNT) – Some consumer advocates hope Gov. Brian Sandoval signs Senate Bill 350 (SB 350). It’s legislation to regulate stater interruption devices that shut off a car and track its location when the person buying it is late making a payment. Here’s a brief breakdown of what the bill entails:
A bill to regulate car shutoff mechanisms, also known as starter interruption devices, passed in the Nevada Legislature and now sits on Governor Brian Sandoval’s desk. These devices are often required by subprime used car lenders for customers with poor credit. They use G-P-S to track the car, start beeping if a payment is late, and shut the car off entirely if the company doesn’t receive payment within three days.
Attorney Sophia Romero with the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada said this form of “electronic repossession” can be dangerous, for the driver, and everyone else on the road.
“There’s not currently any regulation regarding when they can turn off someone’s car,” said Romero. “Somebody could be in the middle of the highway. It could be the middle of the night. People can get stranded. We have had three different clients report that their car was shut off while they were driving,” Romero said.
The primary manufacturer, called PassTime, testified in a hearing on a prior version of the bill that the devices, if installed properly, will not shut a car off if it’s in gear. Senate Bill 350 states that cars cannot be disabled unless a payment is 30 days late, and gives the consumer recourse if the device is installed improperly and the car shuts down while on the road.
Romero also said franchise car dealers and credit unions are on board with SB 350, but subprime car lenders are still balking, arguing that a 30-day limit before using the shutoff device would harm their business and cause them to reconsider lending in Nevada. However, Romero said that subprime car sales continue unabated in states like Virginia, which has a 45-day shutoff rule.