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Consumer Advocates join Vargas in Support of Used Car Safety Act of 2012

by Senator Juan Vargas, published



Sacramento, CA – Senator Juan Vargas (D-San Diego) was joined by a group of consumer, business and community leaders at the State Capitol today supporting the need to improve used car consumer protection through Senate Bill 990 – The Used Car Safety Act of 2012.

“My legislation is an important fix to better ensure that Californians have the opportunity to receive the best and most accurate information possible when purchasing a used vehicle,” said Senator Juan Vargas. “For many working families their car is their lifeline and it is essential that they are confident that it is safe and free of damage. SB 990 will simply provide Californians with an option to obtain more information about a car’s vehicle history before making a purchase.”

Last year, legislation was enacted that had an unintentional impact that will potentially harm used car buyers beginning July 1. The legislation mandates that auto dealers provide a government report known as NMVTIS (National Motor Vehicle Titling Information System) to consumers when purchasing a used car. NMVTIS does not track detailed vehicle history events such as air bag deployment, open recalls and structural or frame damage.

A study was conducted this month on this issue by industry experts Alan C. Donelson, Ph.D., and Raymond C. Peck, MA.. Dr. Donelson has extensive experience as a researcher in the fields of traffic safety and automotive risk analysis; and Mr. Peck has over 40 years’ experience conducting research in the field of highway safety, including for the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Key findings from the study conclude that:

·         A commercially available vehicle history report has an advantage in its ability to alert used-car dealers and consumers to a “total loss” that didn’t result in the issuance of a title brand.

·         A commercially available vehicle history report is substantially better at reporting about vehicles with   accidents and other indications of damage. The differences in percentages are highly statistically significant.

·         The NMVTIS website advises consumers to obtain other information and acknowledges that NMVTIS doesn’t include vehicle repair histories, recall information, and other care and maintenance data.

·         Current law will discourage the use of commercially available vehicle history reports and creates an opportunity for widespread fraud in California.

SB 990 will fix the law and ensure that consumers have a choice by requiring dealers to offer NMVTIS and/or another comprehensive commercially available vehicle history report.

“Consumers safety is a risk, particularly those in African American and Hispanic communities. This new law could put consumers at risk of buying a used vehicle with undisclosed damages allowing for the purchase of an unsafe vehicle that could cause a long-term financial burden,” said Derrell Roberts, Chairman of the African American Leadership Coalition - Sacramento. “SB 990 will assure that consumers have access to the essential information about detailed vehicle histories before purchasing a car and that is something that we all can support.”

SB 990 is supported by organizations throughout the state, including California State Chapter of the NAACP, Honda, Hispanic 100, California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, VICA, Air Bag Service, California Black Chamber of Commerce, Latin Business Association, The East Contra Costa County Branch of the NAACP, Contra Costa Taxpayers Association, Orange County Taxpayers Association, former Fresno Mayor Alan Autry, Experian, African American Leadership Coalition – Sacramento, The California Urban Partnership, Ayala Development, The Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce, San Joaquin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Santa Ana Education Project, Polk and CARFAX, among others.

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