Association heads coalition of industry groups urging congress to act on bill to fight catalytic converter theft. - IMAGE: NIADA

Association heads coalition of industry groups urging congress to act on bill to fight catalytic converter theft.

ARLINGTON, Texas – The National Independent Automobile Dealers Association led a partnership of automotive and transportation industry associations in drafting a letter to Congress strongly supporting H.R. 6394, the Preventing Auto Recycling Theft (PART) Act, a bill designed to combat the growing national problem of catalytic converter theft.

The National Automobile Dealers Association, American Car Rental Association, American Truck Dealers, American Trucking Associations and National RV Dealers Association are among the 13 organizations that joined NIADA in signing the letter, which was sent to House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and the committee’s ranking Republican, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) on May 16, during National Police Week.

“Congress must pass H.R. 6394,” NIADA CEO Robert Voltmann said. “It is a critical piece of legislation to combat catalytic converter theft."

“During Police Week, it’s even more important to highlight how this legislation provides local law enforcement with the necessary support needed to combat rising catalytic converter theft.”

The letter points out the sharp rise in catalytic converter thefts – up 325 percent in 2020, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, and likely surpassing that in 2021 – and notes that replacements can cost victims as much as $2,500.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Jim Baird (R-Ind.), would require new vehicles to have unique, traceable ID numbers stamped on catalytic converters at the time of assembly, as well as creating a grant program to stamp VINs on the catalytic converters of existing vehicles, improving record-keeping standards for purchasers of used catalytic converters and making theft, sale, trafficking or known purchase of a stolen catalytic converter theft a federal crime punishable by up to five years in prison.

The bill follows the lead of new laws in 10 states designed to deter catalytic converter theft, but the letter says “a federal framework is needed … because this crime frequently involves trafficking stolen parts across state lines.”

The letter closes by urging the House Energy and Commerce Committee “to support and hold a hearing on this bipartisan legislation.”

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