CHAPTER 255

FORMERLY

SENATE SUBSTITUTE NO. I

FOR SENATE BILL NO. 109

AS AMENDED BY

SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 2

AND HOUSE AMENDMENTS NOS. I AND 2

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 21, DELAWARE CODE, RELATING TO ODOMETER REQUIREMENTS.

BE IT ENACTED DY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE (Two-thirds of all members elected to each House thereof concurring therein):

Section 1. Amend Title 21, Delaware Code by adding thereto a new Chapter to be designated ns Chapter 64 to rend ns follows:

"CHAPTER 64. ODONIETER REQUIREMENTS

§6401. Purpose

The General Assembly hereby finds that purchasers when buying motor vehicles, rely heavily on the odometer rending as an index of the condition and value of such vehicle; that purchasers are entitled to rely on the odometer rending as an accurate reflection of the mileage actually traveled by the vehicle; that an accurate indication of the mileage traveled by a motor vehicle assists the purchasers in determining its safety and reliability; and that motor vehicles move in the current of interstate and foreign commerce or affect such commerce. It is therefore the purpose of this Chapter to prohibit tampering with odometers on motor vehicles and to establish certain safeguards for the protection of purchasers with respect to the sale of motor vehicles having altered or reset odometers.

§6402. Definitions

As used in this Chapter:

(I) The term 'dealer' or 'dealership' means any person, corporation, partnership or limited partnership who has sold five (5) or more motor vehicles within the twelve (12) months preceding the date of n violation of this Chapter.

(2) The term 'odometer' means an instrument for measuring and recording the actual distance a motor vehicle travels while in operation; but shall not Include any auxiliary odometer designed to be reset by the operator of the motor vehicle for the purpose of recording mileage on trips.

(3) The term 'repair and replacement' means to restore to a sound working condition by replacing the odometer or any part thereof by correcting what is inoperative.

(4) The term 'transfer' means to change ownership of a motor vehicle by purchase, gift, or any other means.

§6403. Unlawful Devices

No person shall advertise for sale, sell, use, or install or cause to be installed, any device which causes an odometer to register any mileage other than the true

mileage traveled by a motor vehicle. For purposes of this section, the true mileage traveled by a motor vehicle is that mileage traveled by a motor vehicle as registered by the odometer within the manufacturer's designed tolerance.

§6404. Unlawful Change of Mileage

(a) Unless otherwise provided in S6406 of this Chapter, no person shall disconnect, reset, or alter or cause to be disconnected, reset or altered, the odometer of any motor vehicle.

(b) Unless otherwise provided in §6406, no person shall disconnect, reset, or alter or cause to be disconnected, reset, or altered, the odometer of any motor vehicle with intent to change the number of miles indicated thereon.

§6405. Possession With Intent to Defraud

No person shall, with intent to defraud, possess a motor vehicle knowing that the odometer of such vehicle is disconnected or non-functional.

§6406. Lawful Service, Repair, or Replacement

(a) Nothing in this Chapter shall prevent the service, repair, or replacement of an odometer, provided the mileage indicated thereon remains the same as before the service, repair, or replacement. Where the odometer is incapable of registering the same mileage as before such service, repair, or replacement, the odometer shall be adjusted to rend zero and a notice in writing shall be attached to the left door frame of the vehicle by the owner or his agent specifying the mileage prior to repair or replacement of the odometer and the date on which it was repaired or replaced.

(b) (I) No person shall fail to adjust an odometer or affix a notice regarding such adjustment as required pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

(2) No person shall, with intent to defraud, remove or alter any notice affixed to a motor vehicle pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

§6407. Odometer Disclosure Requirements

(a) Before executing any transfer of ownership document relating to a motor vehicle, each seller of a motor vehicle shall furnish to the purchaser a written statement signed by the seller, containing the following information:

(I) The odometer reading at the time of transfer;

(2) The date of transfer;

(3) The seller's name and current address;

(4) The purchaser's name and current address;

(5) The identity of the vehicle, including its make, year and body type and its vehicle identification number;

(6) (a) A certification by the seller that, to the best of his knowledge the odometer reading reflects the actual miles or kilometers the vehicle has been driver; or

(b) If the seller knows that the odometer reading reflects the amount of mileage in excess of the designed mechanical odometer limit of 99,999 miles/kilometers, he shall include a statement to that effect; or

(e) If the seller knows that the odometer reading differs from the number of miles/kilometers the vehicle has actually traveled and that the difference is greater than that caused by odometer calibration error, he shall include a statement that the odometer reading is not the actual mileage, and should not be relied upon.

(7) No seller shall violate any provision of this section or give a false statement to a purchaser in making any disclosure required by this section.

(8) No purchaser who acquires ownership of a motor vehicle shall accept any written disclosure required by any provision of this section if such disclosure is incomplete.

(9) The purchaser shall acknowledge receipt of the disclosure statement by signing it.

(10) Exceptions - The seller of the following types of motor vehicles need not disclose the odometer reading of the vehicle:

(a) A motor vehicle having a registered gross weight of more than 16,000 pounds;

(b) A motor vehicle that is 25 years old or older; (e) A vehicle that is not self-propelled;

(d) A new motor vehicle transferred between dealers prior to its first retail sale, unless such vehicle has been used as a demonstrator.

§6408. Records; Record Retention; Regulations

(a) All disclosure statements and motor vehicles in the possession of a dealer shall be made available for review upon demand by the Motor Vehicle Division or by their authorized agents.

(b) The Secretary shall have the authority to promulgate regulations for administering this Chapter.

(e) Each dealer of a motor vehicle shall retain for 4 years each Odometer Mileage Statement which he receives. He shall also retain for 4 years a photostat, carbon or other facsimile copy of each Odometer Mileage Statement which he issues. All mileage statements shall be retained at the dealer's primary place of business.

§6409. Vehicles in Possession

(a) No motor vehicle dealer, licensed in accordance with the provision of Title 21 and 30, Delaware Code, shall purchase or accept any motor vehicle unless the seller has indicated the mileage on a disclosure statement pursuant to this Chapter.

(b) No licensed motor vehicle dealer shall have in his possession as inventory for sale any used motor vehicle acquired after September 30, 1980 for which he does not have in his possession the seller's statement required under Section 6407 of this Chapter.

(e) A licensed motor vehicle dealer reassigning or transferring a certificate of ownership shall not be guilty of a violation of this section if such dealer has in his possession the seller's statement as required by §6407 of this Chapter and if he has no knowledge that the statement is false and that the odometer does not reflect the mileage actually driven by the motor vehicle.

§6410. Certificate of Title Acceptable as the Odometer Disclosure Statement

Except as provided in subparagraphs (1) and (2) of this section, any Delaware Certificate of Title issued after September 30, 1980 which includes the odometer disclosure information, as prescribed by §6407 of this Chapter, shall satisfy all the requirements for issuance of Odometer Disclosure Statements by dealers licensed in the State of Delaware.

(2) Any Manufacturer's Statement of Origin accompanying an "Original Application for a Delaware Certificate of Title", shall satisfy the requirements of the Odometer Disclosure Statement as provided in this Chapter.

§11411. Penalties and Jurisdiction

(a) Any person who violates any of the provisions of 56404 (a) of this Chapter, shall be fined not less than $10.00 nor more than $100.00.

(b) Any person who violates any provision in this Chapter, except 56404 (a), shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000 for each violation of this Chapter. Any person who is guilty of a second or subsequent violation of this Chapter shall be fined not less than $2,000 nor more than $10,000 for each violation of this Chapter.

(e) In case of a first offense by a dealer or dealership, such dealer or dealership may be placed on probation as a licensed Delaware Motor Vehicle dealer by the Division of Motor Vehicles for a period of one year. Any violation of this Chapter by a dealer or dealership during any year of probation may result in the suspension of the license of the dealer or dealership for a period not exceeding one year.

(d) In the case of a second or subsequent violation of this Chapter by a dealer or dealership, the Division of Motor Vehicles may suspend the license and/or privileges of the dealer or dealership for a period not to exceed one year.

(e) Common Pleas Court shall have jurisdiction of violation of this Chapter."

Section 2. Title 21, Section 8305, Delaware Code, is hereby repealed in its entirety effective September 30, 1980.

Section 3. This Act shall become effective on September 30, 1980. Approved June 7, 1980.