Sen. Michael Hastings

SPRINGFIELD – There may soon be a law on the books to provide vehicle owners with a defense against the rise in theft of catalytic convertors in Illinois thanks to efforts from State Senator Michael E. Hastings.

“This initiative provides vehicle owners with another line of defense to make it difficult for those stealing catalytic converters to sell and profit off the illegal sale of these parts,” said Hastings (D-Frankfort). “Undergoing the process of filing an insurance claim and replacing catalytic converters is an unnecessary burden on drivers.”

Hastings’ measure, House Bill 4589, would require recyclable metal dealers to keep records of the vehicle identification number of the vehicle from which the catalytic converter was removed and any numbers, bar codes, stickers, or other unique markings of the catalytic convertor.

It would also require them to obtain and retain a copy of the certificate of title or uniform invoice showing the seller's ownership of the vehicle in transactions involving catalytic convertors.

A report released in 2023 from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, ranked Illinois fourth in the nation with 2,021 catalytic converter theft claims from 2020-2022. Nationally, insurance claims for these thefts increased from 16,660 claims in 2020 to 64,701 in 2022.

A catalytic converter is an essential part of a vehicle's exhaust system. It helps lower the number of pollutants released into the air by converting hazardous combustion gases into less harmful substances. A replacement can cost from $1,000 to $3,500, according to AAA.

“These new safeguards will create obstacles for those engaging in these illegal actions,” said Hastings. “Our hope is this will discourage bad actors and end these crimes from ever occurring in our communities.”

House Bill 4589 passed the Senate with bipartisan support on Wednesday and will soon head to the governor’s desk for consideration.