This Comment will demonstrate that no rationale exists to support differential treatment of an owner-passenger and a non-owner-passenger. An analysis of the Schwalbe decision will underscore the inconsistency of its rationale. If Schwalbe had been decided on its facts, the Court could have avoided entirely the issue of the owner-passenger statute's constitutionality. In addition, the rationale suggested by the majority does not support the legislative purposes of the Vehicle Code financial responsibility and civil liability provisions. Finally, Schwalbe must be viewed within the context of California tort law, which is based on the fault principle and on the policy of fair compensation to injured plaintiffs. However, to understand the impact of Schwalbe, an examination of the guest statute's background and of Brown is required.
Mark A. Bonenfant,
Schwalbe v. Jones: The Owner-Passenger Statute Held Constitutional - What Ever Happened to Brown v. Merlo,
San Diego L. Rev.
Available at: https://digital.sandiego.edu/sdlr/vol14/iss4/5