Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (10/10/1998)

National Salvage Motor Vehicle Consumer Protection Act of 1998 - Amends Federal transportation law to require States receiving Federal funds for the compilation of passenger motor vehicle titling information, in licensing a passenger motor vehicle whose ownership has been transferred, to disclose on the certificate of title whenever records indicate that such vehicle was previously issued a title that contained a word or symbol signifying that it was "salvage," "older model salvage," "unrebuildable," "parts only," "scrap," "junk," "nonrepairable," "reconstructed," "rebuilt," or that it has been damaged by flood, and the name of the State that issued the title.

(Sec. 2) Directs the Secretary of Transportation to issue regulations requiring each State in licensing such vehicles to apply specified uniform standards, procedures, and methods for the issuance and control of motor vehicle titles and for information to be contained on such titles. Requires any State not in compliance with the uniform Federal requirements to print conspicuously on a motor vehicle's title or ownership certificate that such State does not conform to such requirements.

Directs the Secretary to prescribe regulations requiring: (1) a person transferring ownership of a rebuilt salvage vehicle to disclose to the transferee, before the time of transfer, that the motor vehicle is a rebuilt salvage vehicle when such person has actual knowledge of such fact; and (2) that a label containing such information be affixed to the windshield or window of a rebuilt salvage vehicle before its first sale. Prohibits any person from willfully removing, altering, or rendering illegible such label before the vehicle is delivered to the first retail purchaser.

Directs the Secretary to report to appropriate congressional committees whether the costs to States for compliance with the requirements of this Act can be met by user fees for titling, registration, inspection, or other services, or by earmarking moneys collected through law enforcement action to enforce such requirements.

Makes it unlawful for any person knowingly to: (1) make false statements on the application for a motor vehicle title or any disclosure with respect to a rebuilt salvage vehicle; (2) fail to apply for a salvage title when such application is required; (3) alter, forge, or counterfeit a certificate of title, a nonrepairable vehicle certificate, a certificate verifying an anti-theft inspection or an anti-theft and safety inspection, a required decal affixed to a passenger motor vehicle, or any disclosure with respect to a rebuilt salvage vehicle; (4) falsify the results of an inspection; (5) offer to sell any salvage vehicle or nonrepairable vehicle as a rebuilt salvage vehicle; (6) fail to give notice to a transferee of a motor vehicle that it has been damaged by flood; (7) fail to make any required disclosure with respect to a rebuilt salvage vehicle; (8) violate a regulation under this Act; (9) move a vehicle or a vehicle title in interstate commerce for the purpose of avoiding the titling requirements of this Act; or (10) conspire to commit any of these acts. Sets forth civil penalties for violations of this Act.

Authorizes the chief law enforcement officer of a State, whenever a person violates a requirement of this Act, to bring an action in district court to restrain the violation, or recover amounts for which a person is civilly liable, or recover the amount of damage suffered by a resident in the State as a result of the knowing commission of the unlawful act by another person.

(Sec. 3) Requires the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System to permit a user to establish instantly and reliably, among other things, whether: (1) an automobile known to be titled in a particular State is or has been a nonrepairable vehicle or a rebuilt salvage vehicle; and (2) an automobile bearing a known vehicle identification number has been reported as a nonrepairable vehicle or a rebuilt salvage vehicle.

Limits to States receiving certain Federal grants for the compilation of passenger motor vehicle titling information (currently, every State is required) to make such information available for use in operating the System.

(Sec. 4) Amends Federal transportation law to direct the Secretary to develop and implement a program to notify U.S. dealers and distributors of the prohibition on the sale or delivery of any vehicle for use as a schoolbus that does not meet prescribed standards.