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What is Lara's Law?

Lara's Law is the result of Bill TN-SB1489, which was filed for introduction in Tennessee in January 2016. The law is named after a young law student, Lara Gass, who perished in 2014 due to an auto defect. SB1489 was recommended for passage by the Senate on Mar. 7, 2016; however, the bill would be subject to certain amendments.

The accident:

Lara Gass drove a used Saturn Ion. While driving to work in 2014, she slammed into the rear of a tractor-trailer because her car would not stop. Adding to the tragedy, the vehicle's airbags failed to deploy as well. As a result, Lara died of her injuries despite the attempts of three good Samaritans to save her life.

The defect:

Lara's Saturn Ion was one of millions with a defective ignition switch that could turn off the car's brakes, power steering and airbags without any warning. A few weeks before Lara's accident, General Motors issued a recall, but the auto manufactured insisted that as long as all object were removed from the key chain, the car would be safe to operate.

The Bill:

Lara's Law will require auto dealers to check for a recall report before selling used cars that weigh up to 10,000 pounds. Further, if the vehicle in question was indeed the subject of a recall, dealers will be required to conduct a recall repair before selling the motor vehicle.

The amendments:

Lara's parents are unhappy about amendments made to the Bill and say they will not support its current version. These amendments specify that only certain recalls will be subject to Lara's Law such as "stop drive" or "extreme" recalls. The family and their attorney say the bill in its current form doesn't "go far enough to keep all drivers safe."

Hopefully, the Bill will undergo the changes recommended by Lara's family. This would not only improve safety but would give victims legal grounds to seek justice if Lara's Law is violated. Lara's Law could prove to be an important factor in keeping Tennessee residents safer behind the wheel.

Source: TrackBill, "TN - SB1489," accessed Dec. 09, 2016

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