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H.R. 1839 (ih) To establish nationally uniform requirements regarding the titling and registration of salvage, nonrepairable, and rebuilt vehicles. ...


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105th CONGRESS

  1st Session

                               H. R. 1839

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT

To establish nationally uniform requirements regarding the titling and 
     registration of salvage, nonrepairable, and rebuilt vehicles.
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
105th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 1839

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT


 
To establish nationally uniform requirements regarding the titling and 
     registration of salvage, nonrepairable, and rebuilt vehicles.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``National Salvage Motor Vehicle 
Consumer Protection Act of 1997''.

SEC. 2. MOTOR VEHICLE TITLING AND DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS.

    (a) Amendment to Title 49, United States Code.--Subtitle VI of 
title 49, United States Code, is amended by inserting a new chapter at 
the end:

   ``CHAPTER 333--AUTOMOBILE SAFETY AND TITLE DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS

``Sec.
``33301. Definitions.
``33302. Passenger motor vehicle titling.
``33303. Disclosure and label requirements on transfer of rebuilt 
                            salvage vehicles.
``33304. Report on funding.
``33305. Effect on State law.
``33306. Civil and criminal penalties.
``33307. Actions by States.
``Sec. 33301. Definitions
    ``(a) Definitions.--For the purposes of this chapter:
            ``(1) Passenger motor vehicle.--The term `passenger motor 
        vehicle' shall have the same meaning given such term by section 
        32101(10), except, notwithstanding section 32101(9), it shall 
        include a multipurpose passenger vehicle (constructed on a 
        truck chassis or with special features for occasional off-road 
        operation), or a truck, other than a truck referred to in 
        section 32101(10)(B), when that vehicle or truck is rated by 
        the manufacturer of such vehicle or truck at not more than 
        10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight, and except further, it 
        shall only include a vehicle manufactured primarily for use on 
        public streets, roads, and highways.
            ``(2) Salvage vehicle.--The term `salvage vehicle' means 
        any passenger motor vehicle, other than a flood vehicle or a 
        nonrepairable vehicle, which--
                    ``(A) is a late model vehicle which has been 
                wrecked, destroyed, or damaged, to the extent that the 
                total cost of repairs to rebuild or reconstruct the 
                passenger motor vehicle to its condition immediately 
                before it was wrecked, destroyed, or damaged, and for 
                legal operation on the roads or highways, exceeds 80 
                percent of the retail value of the passenger motor 
                vehicle;
                    ``(B) is a late model vehicle which has been 
                wrecked, destroyed, or damaged, and to which an 
                insurance company acquires ownership pursuant to a 
                damage settlement (except in the case of a settlement 
                in connection with a recovered stolen vehicle, unless 
                such vehicle sustained damage sufficient to meet the 
                damage threshold prescribed by subparagraph (A)); or
                    ``(C) the owner wishes to voluntarily designate as 
                a salvage vehicle by obtaining a salvage title, without 
                regard to the level of damage, age, or value of such 
                vehicle or any other factor, except that such 
                designation by the owner shall not impose on the 
                insurer of the passenger motor vehicle or on an insurer 
                processing a claim made by or on behalf of the owner of 
                the passenger motor vehicle any obligation or 
                liability.
            ``(3) Salvage title.--The term `salvage title' means a 
        passenger motor vehicle ownership document issued by the State 
        to the owner of a salvage vehicle. A salvage title shall be 
        conspicuously labeled with the word `salvage' across the front.
            ``(4) Rebuilt salvage vehicle.--The term `rebuilt salvage 
        vehicle' means--
                    ``(A) any passenger motor vehicle which was 
                previously issued a salvage title, has passed State 
                anti-theft inspection, has been issued a certificate 
                indicating that the passenger motor vehicle has passed 
                the required anti-theft inspection, has passed the 
                State safety inspection in those States requiring a 
                safety inspection pursuant to section 33302(b)(8), has 
                been issued a certificate indicating that the passenger 
                motor vehicle has passed the required safety inspection 
                in those States requiring such a safety inspection 
                pursuant to section 33302(b)(8), and has a decal 
                stating `Rebuilt Salvage Vehicle--Anti-theft and Safety 
                Inspections Passed' affixed to the driver's door jamb; 
                or
                    ``(B) any passenger motor vehicle which was 
                previously issued a salvage title, has passed a State 
                anti-theft inspection, has been issued a certificate 
                indicating that the passenger motor vehicle has passed 
                the required anti-theft inspection, and has, affixed to 
                the driver's door jamb, a decal stating `Rebuilt 
                Salvage Vehicle--Anti-theft Inspection Passed/No Safety 
                Inspection Pursuant to National Criteria' in those 
                States not requiring a safety inspection pursuant to 
                section 33302(b)(8).
            ``(5) Rebuilt salvage title.--The term `rebuilt salvage 
        title' means the passenger motor vehicle ownership document 
        issued by the State to the owner of a rebuilt salvage vehicle. 
        A rebuilt salvage title shall be conspicuously labeled either 
        with the words `Rebuilt Salvage Vehicle--Anti-theft and Safety 
        Inspections Passed' or `Rebuilt Salvage Vehicle--Anti-theft 
        Inspection Passed/No Safety Inspection Pursuant to National 
        Criteria,' as appropriate, across the front.
            ``(6) Nonrepairable vehicle.--The term `nonrepairable 
        vehicle' means any passenger motor vehicle, other than a flood 
        vehicle, which is incapable of safe operation for use on roads 
        or highways and which has no resale value except as a source of 
        parts or scrap only or which the owner irreversibly designates 
        as a source of parts or scrap. Such passenger motor vehicle 
        shall be issued a nonrepairable vehicle certificate and shall 
        never again be titled or registered.
            ``(7) Nonrepairable vehicle certificate.--The term 
        `nonrepairable vehicle certificate' means a passenger motor 
        vehicle ownership document issued by the State to the owner of 
        a nonrepairable vehicle. A nonrepairable vehicle certificate 
        shall be conspicuously labeled with the word `Nonrepairable' 
        across the front.
            ``(8) Secretary.--The term `Secretary' means the Secretary 
        of Transportation.
            ``(9) Late model vehicle.--The term `Late Model Vehicle' 
        means any passenger motor vehicle which--
                    ``(A) has a manufacturer's model year designation 
                of or later than the year in which the vehicle was 
                wrecked, destroyed, or damaged, or any of the six 
                preceding years; or
                    ``(B) has a retail value of more than $7,500.
        The Secretary shall adjust such retail value on an annual basis 
        in accordance with changes in the consumer price index.
            ``(10) Retail value.--The term `retail value' means the 
        actual cash value, fair market value, or retail value of a 
        passenger motor vehicle as--
                    ``(A) set forth in a current edition of any 
                nationally recognized compilation (to include automated 
                databases) of retail values; or
                    ``(B) determined pursuant to a market survey of 
                comparable vehicles with regard to condition and 
                equipment.
            ``(11) Cost of repairs.--The term `cost of repairs' means 
        the estimated retail cost of parts needed to repair the vehicle 
        or, if the vehicle has been repaired, the actual retail cost of 
        the parts used in the repair, and the cost of labor computed by 
        using the hourly labor rate and time allocations that are 
        reasonable and customary in the automobile repair industry in 
        the community where the repairs are to be performed.
            ``(12) Flood vehicle.--The term `flood vehicle' means any 
        passenger motor vehicle that--
                    ``(A) has been acquired by an insurance company as 
                part of a damage settlement due to water damage; or
                    ``(B) has been submerged in water to the point that 
                rising water has reached over the door sill, has 
                entered the passenger or trunk compartment, and has 
                exposed any electrical, computerized, or mechanical 
                component to water, except--
                            ``(i) where a passenger motor vehicle 
                        which, pursuant to an inspection conducted by 
                        an insurance adjuster or estimator, a motor 
                        vehicle repairer or motor vehicle dealer in 
                        accordance with inspection guidelines or 
                        procedures established by the Secretary or the 
                        State, is determined to have no electrical, 
                        computerized or mechanical components which 
                        were damaged by water; or
                            ``(ii) where a passenger motor vehicle 
                        which, pursuant to an inspection conducted by 
                        an insurance adjuster or estimator, a motor 
                        vehicle repairer or motor vehicle dealer in 
                        accordance with inspection guidelines or 
                        procedures established by the Secretary or the 
                        State, is determined to have one or more 
                        electrical, computerized or mechanical 
                        components which were damaged by water and 
                        where all such damaged components have been 
                        repaired or replaced.
        Disclosure that a vehicle is a flood vehicle must be made at 
        the time of transfer of ownership and the brand `Flood' shall 
        be conspicuously marked on all subsequent titles for the 
        vehicle. No inspection shall be required unless the owner or 
        insurer of the passenger motor vehicle is seeking to avoid a 
        brand of `Flood' pursuant to subparagraph (B). Disclosing a 
        passenger motor vehicle's status as a flood vehicle or 
        conducting an inspection pursuant to subparagraph (B) shall not 
        impose on any person any liability for damage to (except in the 
        case of damage caused by the inspector at the time of the 
        inspection) or reduced value of a passenger motor vehicle.
    ``(b) Construction.--The definitions set forth in subsection (a) 
shall only apply to vehicles in a State which are wrecked, destroyed, 
or otherwise damaged on or after the date on which such State complies 
with the requirements of this chapter and the rule promulgated pursuant 
to section 33302(b).
``Sec. 33302. Passenger motor vehicle titling
    ``(a) Carry-Forward of Information on a Newly Issued Title Where 
the Previous Title for the Vehicle Was Not Issued Pursuant to New 
Nationally Uniform Standards.--For any passenger motor vehicle, the 
ownership of which is transferred on or after the date that is 1 year 
from the date of the enactment of this chapter, each State receiving 
funds, either directly or indirectly, appropriated under section 
30503(c) of this title after fiscal year 1998, in licensing such 
vehicle for use, shall disclose in writing on the certificate of title 
whenever records readily accessible to the State indicate that the 
passenger motor vehicle was previously issued a title that bore any 
word or symbol signifying that the vehicle was `salvage', 
`unrebuildable', `parts only', `scrap', `junk', `nonrepairable', 
`reconstructed', `rebuilt', or any other symbol or word of like kind, 
or that it has been damaged by flood.
    ``(b) Nationally Uniform Title Standards and Control Methods.--Not 
later than 18 months after the date of the enactment of this chapter, 
the Secretary shall by rule require each State receiving funds, either 
directly or indirectly, appropriated under section 30503(c) of this 
title after fiscal year 1998, in licensing any passenger motor vehicle 
where ownership of such passenger motor vehicle is transferred more 
than 2 years after publication of such final rule, to apply uniform 
standards, procedures, and methods for the issuance and control of 
titles for motor vehicles and for information to be contained on such 
titles. Such titling standards, control procedures, methods, and 
information shall include the following requirements:
            ``(1) A State shall conspicuously indicate on the face of 
        the title or certificate for a passenger motor vehicle, as 
        applicable, if the passenger motor vehicle is a salvage 
        vehicle, a nonrepairable vehicle, a rebuilt salvage vehicle, or 
        a flood vehicle.
            ``(2) Such information concerning a passenger motor 
        vehicle's status shall be conveyed on any subsequent title, 
        including a duplicate or replacement title, for the passenger 
        motor vehicle issued by the original titling State or any other 
        State.
            ``(3) The title documents, the certificates, and decals 
        required by section 33301(4), and the issuing system shall meet 
        security standards minimizing the opportunities for fraud.
            ``(4) The certificate of title shall include the passenger 
        motor vehicle make, model, body type, year, odometer 
        disclosure, and vehicle identification number.
            ``(5) The title documents shall maintain a uniform layout, 
        to be established in consultation with the States or an 
        organization representing them.
            ``(6) A passenger motor vehicle designated as nonrepairable 
        shall be issued a nonrepairable vehicle certificate and shall 
        not be retitled.
            ``(7) No rebuilt salvage title shall be issued to a salvage 
        vehicle unless, after the salvage vehicle is repaired or 
        rebuilt, it complies with the requirements for a rebuilt 
        salvage vehicle pursuant to section 33301(4). Any State 
        inspection program operating under this paragraph shall be 
        subject to continuing review by and approval of the Secretary. 
        Any such anti-theft inspection program shall include the 
        following:
                    ``(A) A requirement that the owner of any passenger 

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