ARA Urges Support for House Bill Calling for Disclosure of Damaged Vehicles

The Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) commended the United States House of Representatives today for taking a crucial step to make America's roadways safer by ensuring valuable information is easily accessible to consumers. This morning, Representative Cliff Stearns (R-FL) along with Representatives Charles Bass (R-NH), John Campbell (R-CA), and Robert Brady (D-PA) introduced the Damaged Vehicle Information Act (H.R.6093). The legislation requires public disclosure of the Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) from vehicles determined to have suffered damage resulting in significant fair market value loss.

ARA urges the automotive recycling industry to contact Congress and voice support for H.R. 6093. A copy of the bill is available on the ARA Web site, http://www.a-r-a.org/.

ARA supports the basic goal of this legislation. Millions of vehicles are totaled by insurance companies due to extensive damage, flooding, fire and theft and are rebuilt and then sold fraudulently, with clear titles, to unsuspecting customers. Despite repeated attempts to curb salvage title fraud, the problem has increased as a result of the various state motor vehicle titling laws which create loopholes ready-made for fraud. Among other things, H.R. 6093 requires persons to disclose information without regard to whether a certificate of title is obtained under state motor vehicle titling law or a branded title is obtained under state motor vehicle titling law and provides consumers with information about vehicles that currently is only available to insurance companies and transportation officials.

"ARA has been working closely with lawmakers in the House on this effort to get legislation introduced that will empower consumers with full information about the vehicles they may wish to purchase," said George Eliades, ARA Executive Vice President. "ARA members benefit from full public disclosure of total loss vehicles because an educated consumer is less likely to unknowingly purchase a wrecked, flooded or stolen vehicle, thereby increasing the likelihood that unsafe salvage vehicles will end up in the auto recycling yard where they belong, instead of on America's streets."

H.R. 6093 directs the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to regulate that persons disclose this information to the public in a "commercially reasonable, electronically accessible manner." Persons covered by the bill include any individual, company, corporation, association, firm, partnership, society or any other entity, but does not include any governmental agency.

"The House bill addresses critics' concerns by broadly defining the entities that must disclose vehicles in total loss condition, which will ensure that not just those vehicles totaled by insurance companies are reported," according to Eliades. "Simply declaring that the data must be released in an electronically accessible manner and made available to the public -- as the House bill does -- takes the wind right out of the sails of those arguing that such disclosure is somehow unfair or unreliable."

ARA applauds Representatives Stearns, Bass, Campbell, and Brady for taking this initiative and looks forward to working with them in the future on this legislative effort to stem title and vehicle fraud. ARA encourages all consumers to contact their representatives and request that they would co- sponsor H.R.6093, and work to pass the bill before the end of the 109th Congress this year.

Founded in 1943, the Automotive Recyclers Association has represented an industry dedicated to the efficient removal and reuse of automotive parts, and the proper disposal of inoperable motor vehicles and their hazardous fluids. With programs such as the Certified Auto Recycler program (CAR), and other partnerships with automotive manufacturers, automotive recycling will continue to provide consumers with quality, low cost alternatives for vehicle replacement parts, while preserving our environment and natural resources for tomorrow.

To learn more about the Automotive Recyclers Association, visit the ARA Web page at http://www.a-r-a.org/ or call (703) 385-1001.

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