H.R. 1029, introduced in the House of Representatives, and S. 545, introduced in the Senate, have similar aims: to direct the Secretary of Transportation (S. 545) and the National Highway Safety Administration (H.R. 1029) to require insurers and self-insurers to make available information relating to the fair market value and safety of damaged cars, in particular, total loss vehicles. Three required areas of disclosure are proposed: the vehicle identification number and odometer reading, the date of and primary reason for the total loss determination, and whether the airbags deployed.
A coalition (including the National Automobile Dealers Association) championing efforts requiring insurers to make total loss data available has lobbied diligently to gain bipartisan backing for both bills. SCRS has added its support to the mix because these laws, if passed, will provide significant protections for the consumer.
“All too often an unsuspecting individual purchases a used car with a clean vehicle title that in actuality has been totaled, rebuilt and resold,” explains SCRS Legislative Committee Chairman Rollie Benjamin. “The proposed legislation will make it significantly more difficult to perpetrate this dangerous misrepresentation by making it easier for consumers and dealers to identify those vehicles that have re-entered the market with a history of extensive damage.”
Provisions are built into the bills to ensure that the data pertinent to a repaired vehicle’s background be made easily available in a commercially reasonable, electronically accessible format. The expected outcomes are timely and complete vehicle history reports; better, more informed decisions by potential buyers regarding the safety and fair market value of used cars; and a reduction in the number of unsafe cars on the road.
“Adherence to honesty, fair play and protection of the consumer’s best interests is the driving force behind the ongoing development of collision repair professionalism,” states SCRS Chairman Farzam Afshar. “SCRS has worked to foster those principles from its inception, so it makes perfect sense to align with the parties working hard to see these bills through. We’re optimistic their efforts will succeed, and provide another example of how ‘Working Together Is the Most Important Work We Do’.”