More than 2,500 drivers have been cited since Delaware’s hands-free cell phone law went into effect at the beginning of 2011, according to the Delaware Office of Highway Safety.
Office spokeswoman Alison Kirk says more than 350 people were issued cell phone citations in one day during a statewide crackdown on April 21. She says there have been 30 crashes involving cell phones as a distraction since the ban went into effect.
Cell phone users caught talking on their phones can expect a $50 ticket for their first offense, but after court costs the total can be more than $100. Subsequent cell phone offenses can result in fines between $100 and $200, although there are no points added to an offenders license for a cell phone violation.
Commercial Metals Co (CMC) of Irving, Texas, has announced plans to install a 3,000-horsepower Harris shredder with an online/offline nonferrous separation system at a new site in Corpus Christi, Texas.
According to a press release issued by CMC, the shredder will be built on a 63-acre greenfield site about 5 miles from CMC’s existing scrap processing facility in Corpus Christi. Construction will begin in May with completion anticipated by January 2012, the company says.
Joe Alvarado, CMC president and chief operating officer, says, “Installation of this new shredder ensures CMC will continue to meet the recycling needs of the Corpus Christi area and further demonstrates our commitment to grow our CMC Recycling division.”
With the announced installation, CMC will operate eight auto shredders in North America.
The Automotive Service Association (ASA) has testified before the House Ways and Means Committee of the Texas General Assembly in Austin, Texas, about an inequity in the current Texas Franchise Tax code.
In her testimony, Denise Caspersen, ASA’s Collision Division manager, discussed the association’s support for Texas House Bill 429, a bill introduced by Rep. Allen Fletcher, R-130, to reclassify the automotive repair industry as “retail” for purposes of the franchise tax.
“Currently, in the Texas Franchise Tax code, automotive repair and collision shops owned and operated by new or used car dealerships are taxed at half the rate used to tax independently owned automotive repair businesses doing identical work,” said Caspersen. “The tax code classifies dealership sales as ‘retail’ and allows their service and repair business to be included under that banner. Texas independent repairers are seeking similar treatment.”
ASA members from Texas also spoke in support of the legislation.
House Bill 429, if passed, would allow automotive repair shops to be taxed the same amount that dealers, parts stores and tire stores are now taxed. The Texas Senate has also introduced its version of the bill, Senate Bill 476.
ASA is asking Texas repairers to continue to support House Bill 429 and its companion, Senate Bill 476, by contacting their state legislators urging support for the legislation.
General Motors Co announced that they will invest millions into revamping a Kentucky factory to produce a new version of the iconic Chevrolet Corvette sports car, the automaker said on May 4.
"It has a completely different look. Don't ask me how or what, but people will be really surprised, in a good way," GM's North American president Mark Reuss told Reuters.
GM would not say when the new Corvette would be introduced, but automotive insiders have speculated that it will make its debut in 2013.
The automaker will invest $131 million in the Bowling Green, Kentucky plant to retool the factory for production of the seventh generation of the Corvette.
On May 3, Infinity Insurance’s Regional Claims Manager, Tim Waldron, called and spoke to Ray Gunder of Gunder’s Auto Center in Lakeland, FL, and repeatedly apologized for the recent comments made by an Infinity claims person to one of Gunder’s customers who captured it on a recorder.
This recording can be heard HERE; the voice heard is that of Infinity Insurance Claim Person, Lisa Whitehurst saying the following word track to one of Gunder’s Auto Center’s customers:
“I spoke with our re-inspector, who went out and re-inspected the vehicle at the body shop,” Whitehurst said in the message. “He said that this body shop has been known to give us issues in the past with other vehicles that they’ve repaired and apparently they are known for overcharging a great deal for the amount of damages and trying to add things that aren’t relevant to, you know, the repairs. They’re also known for holding the vehicle hostage until all the payment is made.”
As a result of the egregious statements made by Infinity’s representative, Ray Gunder immediately contacted his legal counsel, Brent Geohagan, who promptly sent a letter placing the insurer’s claims manager (Mr. Bill Funk) on notice and demanding that Infinity Insurance agree and confirm, in writing within 10 days, that such wrongful conduct on behalf of any Infinity Insurance representative will cease and desist immediately with no re-occurrences.
Barrett Smith, with Autodamage Experts, has released the following voice recording of a call made by a representative of Infinity Insurance to one of Ray Gunder's customers. Listen for yourself by downloading the WAV file at the bottom of this story.
The recordings have been widely quoted in the appealed case which was recently resolved in favor of State Farm. To see background click HERE.
"This type of underhanded practice goes on more often than most are aware or would like to believe and needs to be curtailed, and one sure way is for it to be exposed to the masses and for those who conduct themselves in this way to fear exposure.
"For those of you who know Ray Gunder and the manner in which Gunder’s Auto Center operates, listening to this recording will likely make your blood boil... it did mine. This "supposed" claim professional is trying their best to interfere with and undermine the relationship between Gunder’s and at least one of its customers. Who knows how many times this takes place?
Continues Smith, "One has to ask themselves, what type of person has the lack of conscience and nerve to lie to a customer about a shop in which this claim-person has never dealt with or have first hand information to support what they say?
"The simple fact is she doesn’t and it is apparent she is merely doing as told and reading from a prepared word track intended and designed to disparage Gunder’s good name and destroy the confidence the customer had in selecting Gunder’s. A selection based upon their experience in having their vehicles repaired at Gunder’s more than once in years past, and have earned their respect!
"This so-called claim professional likely considers herself to be a honest and ethical person who cares for her family and attends church on Sunday; but on Monday, goes to work and does things that she is told….regardless if right or wrong and does so despite her personal, ethical or moral convictions, just as a mercenary or a paid assassin would go about their business, hiding behind the Corporate Infinity Badge.
So one has to ask why a large insurance company would do this? Simple, because they have an agenda to control the collision industry and they have done so without being held accountable and have reaped huge profits. Profits that were once the collision repairers.
"The very scary part; they and others who chose to conduct business in this manner will continue to do so to discourage any repairers who choose to step up and say no to underpayments for necessary processes and materials needed to properly serve their clients."
Ray Gunder adds:
"Know this and take serious heed: As long as the rewards outweigh the risks, like a child sneaking cookies, insurers will continue to increase their efforts to profit off the backs of others' hard work and sweat while avoiding the liabilities that come with underpaid repairs. And if you don’t merely submit and allow them free reign over your business, you too will become a victim of this vile and unethical practice of lies and deceit about you and your business.
"Just as slapping the child’s hand for taking too many cookies, or punching the bully in the nose when he comes to take your lunch money, it's only when the risks begin to outweigh the rewards that bad behaviors will change.
"Each repair professional out there needs to make a conscientious choice to either become a part of the solution or remain part of the problem. The choice is yours…use it wisely.
"As for Gunder’s; we will continue to do our part to instill accountability and deter insurers from harming us and our customers. There is strength in numbers and together we con conquer these types of practices in a short time frame…regardless, you can be assured I’ll continue to “Pound That Rock.” The person or persons responsible for these slanderous, outrageous lies (Lisa Whitehurst being one of them) will be held personally accountable. I have to wonder if she knows the effect her hurtful lies could have the twenty-five families dependent on work at Gunder’s Auto Center, all of which are honest, hardworking, ethical people. Is it okay to hide behind her “Infinity Corporate Badge” and attack anyone she’s told by management to suppress their voice? Opinions welcome."
To view Infinity Insurance's response to the recording please click HERE.
Gunder’s Auto Center
Painters Supply & Equipment Company (PSE) will be showcasing its new state-of-the art Learning Center as it hosts I-CAR® spokesperson and Past I-CAR Chair, Mr. Chuck Sulkala, in a “Collision Industry Update Forum”.
The Forum will feature a presentation by Chuck that is designed to introduce the “New I-CAR” to collision repair owners and managers in the PSE service area. Chuck plans to review the history of I-CAR, the new I-CAR Professional Development Program™, “Test Out” options and answer any questions related to I-CAR and I-CAR training strategy.
“Technical training is a vital component in the success of today’s collision repair facility” says PSE VP Sales & Marketing Guy Bargnes. “In addition to working with I-CAR to bring training programs to our market, the opportunity to have an I-CAR spokesperson speak directly to shop owners and managers' regarding strategic training issues is a huge value that we are proud to facilitate. It is a primary reason why we established our Learning Center.”
The Women’s Industry Network (WIN) held their 5th Annual Conference May 1–3 at the Westin Gaslamp Hotel in San Diego. WIN was organized to enhance the collision repair industry—and the role of women within it—through education, networking, and sharing of resources.
To view the full text of this article with photos please click HERE.
Attendance for this year’s conference was up 30–40 percent, according to Chairwoman Kim White. The event attracted over 150 attendees and featured speeches from motivational and industry experts as well as break out sessions where attendees could receive detailed, personalized tips for their businesses. The event was attended by Autobody News’ Assistant Editor, Erica Schroeder, and Barbara Davies, General Manager and Co-owner.
Speakers discussed a variety of topics designed to enhance business and personal skills as a whole.
“We are proud to offer sessions that will spark new ways of thinking, better performance, and greater understanding of industry issues,” said White.
In the opening session White also thanked the current board for their work this year including the organizations first, and very successful, booth at the International Autobody Exposition and Congress (NACE) in 2010.
The organization was able to increase their membership and exposure with the booth as well as their Women’s Track Classes that they offered during NACE as well.
Fix Auto USA has announced the addition of five franchise locations. The new locations represent Fix Auto’s expansion in the San Diego market to eight locations, and the expansion of its presence in Southern California. Fix Auto USA, which added a franchise model to network membership in January 2011, currently has 39 franchise locations operating in three states: California, Colorado and Oregon.
The new Fix Auto locations include:
· Fix Auto El Cajon, formerly East County Auto Collision
· Fix Auto Escondido, previously Henson and Son
· Fix Auto La Mesa, operated at Drew Collision Repair Center
· Fix Auto Mira Mesa, formerly Miramar Collision Center
· Fix Auto National City, previously owned by Ball Auto Group
Greg Carter, owner of Fix Auto National City, Fix Auto Santee and Fix Auto Mission Valley said the power of a larger network, powered by independent owners played a big role in his decision to franchise.
JD Motorsports has announced that COLORMATCH, a leader in the distribution of collision repair products to the auto body industry, will sponsor the #01 Chevy for this weekend’s race in Nashville, TN. COLORMATCH also sponsored Mike Wallace and JD Motorsports at the race in Bristol, TN earlier this season.