House Bill 5639 as enacted

Public Act 680 of 2018

Sponsor:  Rep. Brett Roberts

House Committee:  Transportation and Infrastructure

Senate Committee:  Transportation

Complete to 4-8-19


House Bill 5639 adds section 217i to the Michigan Vehicle Code to require the Secretary of State to issue a vehicle identification number (VIN) and certificate of title to an assembled vehicle under certain circumstances.

The bill defines assembled vehicle as one or more of the following:

·         A vehicle that is built from new or used materials or parts by a person not recognized as a manufacturer.

·         A vehicle that has been altered or modified to the extent that it no longer reflects its original manufacturer configuration.

·         A vehicle that has had its body replaced with a different style of body unit from another vehicle.

·         A vehicle that has been assembled from a kit.

·         An off-road vehicle, regardless of whether the original manufacturer's certificate of origin specifies that the vehicle is an off-road vehicle.

However, assembled vehicle does not include either a military surplus vehicle designated by the federal government as for off-road use only or a gray market off-road minitruck.

The bill requires the Secretary of State, upon application and payment of proper fees and submission of all documentation required by the Secretary of State, to issue a VIN in the manner provided in section 230 of the Code and a certificate of title to an assembled vehicle that satisfies all applicable requirements of the Code and contains the following equipment:

·         Headlights, including at least one headlight on each side and high- and low-beam headlights.

·         Front and rear turn signals.

·         At least one taillight. (If the vehicle has two taillights, both must be in working order.)

·         Registration plate light.

·         Brake lights.

·         Horn.

·         Bright light indicator.

·         Windshield wipers.

·         Windshield washers.

·         Brake equipment as required under the Code.

·         Safety belts. (This applies only to 1965 and newer model vehicles.)

·         Safety glass windshield. (The windshield may not be made of plexiglass, must be of a sufficient size to protect the driver of the vehicle and passengers, and must be made of a transparent material and be free of cracks or obstructions.)

·         An adjustable outside rearview mirror on the driver's side, except that a truck with a half-ton or more capacity must have an outside rearview mirror on each side of the vehicle.

·         For a passenger vehicle, bumpers that are between 14 and 22 inches above the ground when the vehicle is not in 4-wheel drive.

·         Tires that have 2/32-inch tread, do not have exposed cord or tread separation, and are approved for use by the United States Department of Transportation.

·         Exhaust that is in good working order and does not produce excessive noise. (If the original design of the exhaust included a tailpipe and resonator, the exhaust must include a tailpipe and resonator.)

·         Differential gear.

The bill also requires the Department of State Police (MSP) to conduct a safety study for the period beginning January 1, 2019, and ending December 31, 2020, of vehicles for which a VIN and certificate of title may be issued under the bill. The study must include all of the following:

·         The number of traffic crash fatalities on public roadways that involved one or more of the vehicles described above.

·         The number of serious injuries sustained in traffic crashes on public roadways that involved one or more of the vehicles described above.

·         Any other relevant safety data gathered during the period of the study.

·         Any safety recommendations that MSP believes will help increase traffic safety for vehicles described above.

The study must be filed with the governor, the Senate Majority Leader, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by April 1, 2021.

The bill took effect March 28, 2019.

Proposed MCL 257.217i


House Bill 5639 would result in limited increased costs to the Department of State. Section 230 of the Michigan Vehicle Code currently requires the Secretary of State to provide a VIN to a vehicle whose manufacturer’s VIN has been altered, removed, or defaced. Section 806(2) currently provides for a $10 fee for special identifying number applications. The department reports that inspection and administrative costs of issuing a VIN far exceed the $10 application fee. (A proposed change not enacted in House Bill 4630 (H-2) of 2013 would have increased the VIN application fee from $10 to $100 to cover the costs of providing the service.) The actual increase in costs to the Department of State from the bill would depend on the number of applicants seeking a VIN for assembled vehicles.

The bill would result in a cost increase for MSP, likely incurred by the Criminal Justice Information Center. The exact magnitude of the projected cost increase is indeterminate, since the cost will depend on how many vehicle identification numbers are issued and how many of these vehicles are involved in crashes.

                                                                                        Legislative Analyst:   E. Best

                                                                                               Fiscal Analysts:   Michael Cnossen

                                                                                                                           Marcus Coffin

This analysis was prepared by nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency staff for use by House members in their deliberations, and does not constitute an official statement of legislative intent.