Ill. Officials Propose Legislation to Help Consumers Know if Purchased Vehicle was in Accident

March 9, 2005

In an effort to ensure that consumers know whether vehicles they may buy have been damaged in an accident, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Senator James Meeks (D-Chicago) and Senator Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) are joining forces to amend the Illinois Vehicle Code to require that all police-reported accidents be disclosed to used car dealers and consumers.

In 2002, an estimated 700,000 cars were involved in approximately 440,000 police-reported accidents across Illinois. However, much of this accident information is never disclosed when cars are later sold. If passed, Senate Bill 1839 would make police-reported accidents in the State of Illinois available to all used car buyers – both consumers and dealers.

A hearing on SB 1839 was scheduled this week before the Senate Housing and Community Affairs Committee.

Similar to laws in 38 other states, including New York, California and Michigan, SB 1839 would mandate that accident information be made available to the public. Consumers and dealers also would be informed if a car’s air bag system had deployed and requires inspection. The bill is supported by both consumer advocates and used car dealers.

“Whether a vehicle has been damaged in an accident is critical information that a consumer has a right to know before investing in a car,” Madigan said. “This legislation requires disclosure of information that will help consumers and car dealers make purchasing decisions.”

“Just two years ago, there were over 440,000 police-reported accidents in Illinois,” Meeks said. “Many of these vehicles will eventually go on to be sold to another individual. I think it makes good consumer policy to allow car buyers an opportunity to access the real condition and previous accident record of their purchase. Everyone has a right to know what they are investing their hard earned dollars in.”

“This legislation will help inform and protect consumers in the purchase of an automobile. It is paramount and a right of buyers to understand the history of a vehicle,” Dillard said.

Senator Iris Martinez (D-Chicago), another co-sponsor of the bill, said she understands the benefits of being alerted to a car’s previous accident record before purchase: she bought a used vehicle for her daughter and later discovered that the car had sustained damage in a previous accident that was not disclosed at the time of purchase.

SB 1839 was introduced on Feb. 23 and is supported by Attorney General Madigan, and Senators Meeks, Dillard, Martinez, Rickey Hendon (D-Chicago) and Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago).

The bill also is supported by Representative Marlow Colvin (D-Chicago), chairman of the House Consumer Protection Committee.

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.