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2 more dealer-related bills signed into law by Illinois Gov. Ryan

November 24, 2010

The driver's insurer will be primarily responsible in accidents with a dealership loaner vehicle, under a new Illinois law that takes effect Jan. 1, 2003. The dealer's insurer would be the secondary insurer on loaners and remains primary on test drives, according to the act signed by Gov. George Ryan on Aug. 22.

One day earlier, Ryan signed a bill that makes it illegal for anyone to install or reinstall in a vehicle any object in lieu of an air bag which is designed specifically for the make, model and year of that vehicle, according to federal safety regulations. The new public act likewise takes effect Jan. 1, 2003. A dealer's insurance still will be primary on loaners if a customer's insurance policy does not have a 100/300/ 50 liability minimum ($100,000 for bodily injury or death of any person; $300,000 for bodily injury or death of any two or more persons in one accident; and $50,000 for property damage).

Dealers have attempted for years to make the driver of a loaner first in the line of responsibility when an accident occurs. Ryan vetoed a similar bill in 1999, but said he did so because that legislation considered the dealer's insurance fourth, not second. Under the new law, a "loaner" vehicle is one which the customer has permission to drive while his vehicle is being repaired or evaluated. Conversely, "test driving" occurs when a customer drives a vehicle to evaluate the performance, reliability or condition of a vehicle when considering to buy or lease the vehicle. The permitted user's insurance is considered secondary during test drives. Violators of the new air bag law would be subject to a Class A misdemeanor.

Recent enactment of the two bills means Ryan approved all three dealer-related bills before him from this year's General Assembly. Earlier in August, Ryan signed a bill that expands the list of components that may be repaired without triggering damage disclosure. Effective Jan. 1, 2003, video and telephonic accessories join glass, tires, bumpers and in-dash audio items as components that may be repaired with OEM equipment without triggering disclosure. A dealer must disclose in writing any other damage, of which he has actual knowledge, that exceeds 6 percent of the vehicle's MSRP. The CATA, with legislative consultant Roger C. Marquardt & Co., shepherded the damage disclosure and air bag bills.