SOURCE: AAA Hawaii

April 23, 2007 07:05 ET

"Key Code" Bill Would Help Stranded Motorists

HONOLULU, HI -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 23, 2007 --Motorists would get 24-hour, 7-days-a-week access to information needed to replace high-tech, electronic vehicle keys when they have been stolen, damaged, or lost under a bill supported by AAA Hawaii.

Senate Bill 1011 has been approved by the Senate and House of Representatives and is being considered by a joint conference committee to make any final bill changes. The bill requires setting up a safe, secure and convenient option for consumers to obtain replacement keys through pre-approved and registered locksmiths. The registered locksmiths will be able to securely obtain electronic code information to reproduce many of today's high-tech vehicle keys.

"Vehicles today come equipped with high-tech, electronic keys designed to prevent auto theft," said Richard Velazquez, AAA Hawaii's regional manager. "However, motorists who have their keys stolen, damaged, or lost often face long delays, inconvenience, added risk, and significantly more expense in replacing keys because locksmiths and other car repair facilities cannot obtain the coded information from car manufacturers needed to reproduce electronic keys."

Thousands of Hawaii motorists are stranded each year without a functioning vehicle key because consumers don't have the information needed to replicate the keys -- information that could easily and safely be provided in a secure manner that would allow pre-approved and registered locksmiths to quickly and more affordably make a new key.

Many Hawaii motorists and visitors now endure long waits, great expenses and risk their personal safety while locksmiths tear apart steering columns or car doors to obtain needed key information. Other times, vehicles must be towed to car dealers and drivers forced to wait hours, days or even longer to get a replacement key and get back on the road again.

"AAA Hawaii believes that when a motorist buys a vehicle, he or she also buys everything needed to operate it, including all the information necessary to make a replacement key," Velazquez said. "An auto manufacturer should be able to provide vehicle owners with a secure and contemporary way to obtain this information when and where owners need a replacement key."

In addition to AAA Hawaii, supporters of SB 1011 include consumer groups, insurers, the visitor industry and motorists -- who sent their elected officials more than 1,200 letters asking the Legislature and Governor to approve the bill.

"Greater vehicle security is an asset for consumers, but security improvement should not come at the expense of placing motorists in an unsafe situation or forcing them to wait hours or days or pay unnecessarily high prices to obtain replacement keys," said Velazquez. "SB 1011 will provide an up-to-date option for consumers who need a way to get replacement keys."

SB 1011 is similar to a new law in California that requires vehicle manufacturers to make this information available to pre-approved and registered locksmiths starting in 2008. This same option and protections should be provided to Hawaii consumers, said Velazquez.

AAA Hawaii has served members since 1921. Today, AAA Hawaii provides services to its members that include roadside assistance, maps, international and domestic travel planning and reservations; pedestrian and traffic safety programs; automotive pricing, financial services, including consumer loans, deposit accounts and credit cards. Information about these products and services is available on AAA Hawaii's web site at www.AAA.com.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Richard Velazquez
    (808) 593-2221

    Robert Toyofuku
    (808) 524-4155