New Law Will Help Older Cars From Being Scrapped When Stolen

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(Memphis) - Christy Clark showed us the car she's been driving her daughter around in after the one she bought for her 17-year-old was stolen and scrapped before she had a chance to report it missing.

“That car was worth about, I would say, a good three [thousand dollars]”, said Clark.

But that law is now changing. It previously said a car could be sold to a scrap metal company without a title, if it was 10 years old or older. Metal scrappers had to run the vehicle identification number through a Shelby County database to make sure it wasn't stolen, but the problem came when stolen cars were scrapped before there was time to file a police report, let alone show up in the database.

“There were a lot of victims, a lot of people in my situation as well,” said Clark.

That’s why, last September, we brought the hole in the law to the attention of Tennessee State Representative Antonio Parkinson. He began working on it immediately.

“It’s very important because we have to protect the consumers,” said Parkinson. “We have to protect the people, the citizens of Tennessee.”

And the new law will. It requires a car be 12-years-old before it can be sold and scrapped without a title. Even still, demolishers will now have to wait three days before crushing the car, creating a safe haven for owners of stolen cars.

Parkinson says the scrap metal companies themselves helped make the legislation possible.

“Scrap metal companies that were above-board were very instrumental in helping draft this legislation,” said Parkinson.

Clark is glad her unfortunate situation has led the way to protecting others.

“As long as that law has been changed, somebody has been listening,” she said.

Parkinson says the bill has been written to be consistent with surrounding states. The bill should be signed by Governor Bill Haslam any day now.

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