California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed Assembly Bill 391, sponsored by Santee Assemblyman Randy Voepel, which will allow vehicle rental companies to more quickly report a stolen vehicle or vehicle procured by way of fraud .
In 2018, nearly 750,000 vehicles were stolen across the United States, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Every state in the country is affected — but not equally. California, compromises one-fifth of the nation’s stolen vehicles, despite California constituting only 12% of the country’s population.
The NCIB says the law will increase the odds that the vehicle will be recovered and the car thief caught, curtailing their ability to steal more vehicles.
"Voepel and his staff deserve an enormous amount of credit, as this was always going to be challenging legislation to get passed," Sharky Laguana, CEO of Bandago Van Rental, said in an email. "This new law will make it a little easier to stop thieves from stealing rental cars, and will immediately benefit the public as well since stolen rental cars are often used to commit more crimes. We are grateful to Asm. Voepel for pushing forward on this (he has had to introduce this bill repeatedly to get it passed), and to Gov. Newsom for signing it into law."
Vehicles are often stolen under violent conditions, and increasingly criminal rings are turning to stolen cars to make big money and to use in the commission of other crimes. Vehicle theft increases familial stress, impedes access to work, and leads to higher insurance premiums for all Californians.