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Regional News

Keep up with the latest collision repair industry news in your area.

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Legislation

  • ‘Driving Privileges’ Law for Undocumented Motorists Goes into Effect in RI

    ‘Driving Privileges’ Law for Undocumented Motorists Goes into Effect in RI

    Written by Dave Fidlin, The Center Square
    Published
    July 5, 2023

    A new law giving undocumented motorists the authority to drive in Rhode Island officially went into effect July 1.

    The change comes a year after legislation in both chambers of the General Assembly was passed.

    Late last June, Gov. Dan McKee swiftly signed House Bill 7939 and companion legislation Senate Bill 2006, into law, starting the countdown clock to the law’s enactment to the midpoint of this calendar year.

    The new law means undocumented motorists will have the opportunity to obtain what state officials are referring to as “driving privilege cards” from the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles in lieu of the standard driver’s licenses that are issued.

    When he signed the bill into law last year at a ceremony, McKee said the changes within it are “an important issue for our economy, equality and public safety.”

    “By granting every Rhode Islander of driving age the opportunity to safely and legally drive a vehicle, we are allowing them to further their education and career---which, in turn, benefits the entire state,” McKee said in a release.

    In the statement, McKee cited years-long efforts from lawmakers and advocates across the state.

    “(The law) means more workers will have access to more jobs and opportunities that keep Rhode Island’s momentum going,” McKee said.

    Sen. Frank Ciccone, D-Providence, was one of several lawmakers in both chambers of the General Assembly to back the bills when they were introduced a year ago. Ciccone was a sponsor of SB2006.

    Ciccone cited several reasons for the reforms encapsulated in the law, including safety for all motorists on the road.

    “We need to ensure that all drivers, regardless of immigration status, are trained, tested and insured when driving on our roads,” Ciccone said in a statement. “If the worst were to happen, and an accident occurs involving an undocumented person driving our residents and businesses are protected far better if this legislation is enacted, as opposed to the status quo.”

    The new law does include several caveats for undocumented motorists seeking a privilege card.

    A tax administrator, for instance, will be required to verify the applicant has filed a personal income tax return as a Rhode Island resident or been claimed as a dependent in the preceding year.

    Applicants also must furnish documents proving their identity and comply with all insurance requirements.

    We thank The Center Squarefor reprint permission.

  • $23 Million in Federal Funds Awarded to Expand Michigan EV Infrastructure

    Michigan-federal-funding-EV-charging-infrastructure

    The development of new EV charging stations will increase accessibility and reliability for Michiganders as they travel the state.

  • 2024 California Auto Body and Collision Laws: Navigating the New Landscape

    California-new-laws-2024-auto-body-shops-collision-repair

    Among the laws going into effect are ones increasing minimum wage and employee sick days, and instituting a new BAR citation and fine program.

  • 6 Ways to Take Action During Right to Repair Awareness Month

    Right-to-Repair-month-July-2023

    6 Ways to Take Action During Right to Repair Awareness Month

    PublishedJuly 5, 2023

    July is Right to Repair Awareness month and the Auto Care Association is calling on the auto care industry to take action this summer by making their voices heard in Washington. 

    Following the recent attempt by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to prevent automakers from complying with Massachusetts Data Access Law, the association is urging industry-wide participation in spreading awareness about the importance of preserving Americans’ right to repair their vehicles and passing the REPAIR Act at the federal level. 

    The Auto Care Association makes participating in Right to Repair Awareness month easy and accessible to everyone by offering six ways to take action this month.

    “There are more than 4 million individuals that make up the American auto care industry and its time we start putting that number to work,” said Bill Hanvey, president and CEO, Auto Care Association. “Rights, oftentimes, need to be fought for---which is why it is imperative that the latest actions taken to thwart the will of the people in Massachusetts be a wake up call to our industry that we are going to have to bring everything we’ve got into this fight for the future of our industry. We’ve made taking action easier than ever and I hope everyone will lend their voice in this Right to Repair fight.”

    Anyone in the industry can join the Right to Repair Awareness Month effort by taking action in the following ways:

    Right-to-Repair-month-July-2023

    Scan this QR Code to send an automatic letter to your local congressperson telling them to support the REPAIR Act.

    Download Right to Repair promotional materials at autocare.org/r2rtoolkit to conduct a company awareness campaign on Right to Repair. The Auto Care Association’s toolkit has everything you need to educate employees and customers about Right to Repair.

    Host your congressperson at your place of business. The association has a complete program that handles the contacts, the logistics and the talking points. Here’s a link to our Advocacy 101 toolkit to learn how to get started.

    Share your support for Right to Repair throughout the month of July and what it means to you on social using the hashtag #righttorepair. The Auto Care Association has created a media kit with downloadable and editable graphics for eye-catching communications.

    Be an ambassador within your organization. Spread the word about Right to Repair Awareness Month with your supervisor. Ask your HR department to send this company-wide and use resources from the association’s media kit to educate your company and encourage your employees or colleagues to also take 30 seconds to send a pre-populated letter to their local legislator via the association’s Action Center.

    Continue your engagement on this critical issue by participating in the 2023 Auto Care Association Legislative summit, taking place Sept. 21 in Washington, D.C. Join the association and hundreds of aftermarket industry professionals in Washington for a day packed with meetings between you and your local congressional representatives so they can hear directly from you about our industry’s need to access vehicle data.

    The loudest voice in Washington is that of the taxpayer/voter---and we provide the talking points, the meeting schedule and a thoroughly American day participating in the political process. This is a day you will bring home to your family and friends, and you will not regret it.

    Additional resources, including full briefs on Right to Repair can be found on the Auto Care Association website for both the state and national levels.

    Companies that partake in employee education efforts will receive recognition from the Auto Care Association. Participating companies can send details about their engagement in the Right to Repair Awareness Month to communications@autocare.org.

    Learn more about the upcoming Auto Care Association Legislative Summit at autocare.org/legislativesummit.

    Source: Auto Care Association

  • 8 New Bipartisan Co-Sponsors Support REPAIR Act

    Right-to-Repair-Act-federal-new-co-sponsors

    8 New Bipartisan Co-Sponsors Support REPAIR Act

    PublishedApril 26, 2023

    The CAR Coalition, MEMA Aftermarket, Auto Care Association and SEMAare applauding a new group of bipartisan cosponsors of the federal REPAIR Act (H.R. 906), which will ensure choice, fairness and safety in the vehicle repair market.

    In addition to original sponsor U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn, R-FL, and co-sponsors Reps. Brendan Boyle, D-PA, Warren Davidson, R-OH, and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-WA, eight additional members have signed on in support of the REPAIR Act: Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-CA, Glenn Thompson, R-PA, Brittany Pettersen, D-CO, Tim Walberg, R-MI, Ro Khanna, D-CA, Carlos Gimenez, R-FL, Ann Kuster, D-NH, and Anna Paulina Luna, R-FL.

    New co-sponsor Gimenez said the REPAIR Act’s public safety provisions are critical to his support.

    “As a career first responder, protecting the American people and our public safety has been one of my top priorities in Congress,” said Gimenez. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in co-sponsoring the bipartisan REPAIR Act, which ensures that car owners have access to their vehicle’s data and can make informed, cost-saving decisions on where to take their car for repairs.”

    Specifically the REPAIR Act will:

    • Preserve consumer access to high quality and affordable vehicle repair by ensuring that vehicle owners and their repairers of choice have access to necessary repair and maintenance tools and data as vehicles continue to become more advanced.
    • Ensure cybersecurity by allowing vehicle manufacturers to secure vehicle-generated data and requiring the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to develop standards for how vehicle generated data necessary for repair can be accessed securely.
    • Provide transparency for consumers by requiring vehicle owners be informed that they can choose where and how to get their vehicle repaired.
    • Create a stakeholder advisory committee and provide them with the statutory authority to provide recommendations to the FTC on how to address emerging barriers to vehicle repair and maintenance.
    • Provide ongoing enforcement by establishing a process for consumers and independent repair facilities to file complaints with the FTC regarding alleged violations of the requirements in the bill and a requirement that the FTC act within five months of a claim.

    The REPAIR Act is the only bill that addresses vehicle maintenance and repair restrictions, including heavy duty vehicles the U.S. economy depends on for freight transport.

    Automotive aftermarket companies can urge legislators in their district to also co-sponsor the bill by visiting repairact.com.

    Source: Auto Care Association

  • ABPA Opposes Texas Bill That Would Restrict Use of Alternative Replacement Parts

    ABPA-Texas-Senate-bill-alternative-parts-restriction-collision-repair

    ABPA Opposes Texas Bill That Would Restrict Use of Alternative Replacement Parts

    PublishedApril 7, 2023

    On March 27, the Automotive Body Parts Association (ABPA) submitted opposition to Texas Senate Bill 1083 (2023), which will adversely affect Texas drivers as it would establish a 36-month restriction against the use of alternative parts including aftermarket, recycled, remanufactured and refurbished parts when OEM repair procedures are mandated.

    The ABPA is against any repair procedure that encourages monopolistic behavior that would solely benefit the OEM manufacturer, as this would further burden the consumer.

    Based on the language of the bill, Texas vehicle owners will be given the false impression that alternative parts are inferior and unsafe compared to car company parts.

    In its letter, the ABPA said the bill "would not achieve its goal, as consumers would be adversely affected should they be limited to having their vehicles repaired only with car company branded parts as stated in OEM repair procedures. Consumers will be affected financially by higher part pricing due to lack of competition and higher insurance costs due to the higher costs of parts. Consumers will also face delays in getting their vehicles repaired and more vehicles will be totaled due to interruptions in the supply chain.

    The ABPA pointed out the rate of inflation for auto body repair and auto insurance has been at levels not seen since the late 1970s and early 1980s.

    As of January, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI data reported the annual inflation rate for vehicle maintenance was 14.2%. Compared to the already elevated general inflation rate of 6.4% for all items in January, the costs to repair a vehicle in the U.S. is far outpacing inflation.

    In addition, car insurance rates were up 14.7% in January, which again is more than double the overall rate on inflation.

    "The reasons for this is twofold; increases in part prices as well as the increased costs incurred by insurance companies (rental cars) due to supply chain issues," the ABPA said.

    "The car companies and other proponents of these self-serving repair procedures will often cite safety concerns with aftermarket parts," the ABPA said. "The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the federal agency that oversees transportation matters, has concluded that aftermarket parts are cosmetic in nature and do not affect vehicle safety.

    "The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) has come to similar conclusions on the safety of aftermarket parts after years of crash testing," the ABPA continued. "They have also stated that the only major difference between aftermarket parts and car company parts is the high price variance. Meanwhile, the car companies have been under scrutiny over the past few years with the increased amount of safety recalls they have had to administer due to the faultiness of their own parts."

    Source: ABPA

  • App Could Replace In-Car Driving Instruction in Ohio

    Ohio-bill-app-student-driver-instructor

    Bills in the state's House and Senate would allow student drivers' families to avoid paying an instructor $300.

  • ASA Calls on Texas Legislature to Oppose Bill to Eliminate Vehicle Inspections

    ASA Calls on Texas Legislature to Oppose Bill to Eliminate Vehicle Inspections

    PublishedMay 17, 2023

    The Automotive Service Association (ASA) called on the Texas State Senate to oppose House Bill 3297, which would eliminate the state’s vehicle safety inspection program for non-commercial vehicles.

    On May 15, the State Affairs Committee passed HB 3297 on an 8-3 vote. However, earlier in this legislative session, the Texas Senate Transportation Committee rejected SB 684---a similar bill---by a vote of three in favor and five against.

    Research, including a study commissioned by the legislature in 2017, unequivocally demonstrated regular testing of a vehicle’s tires, brakes, windshield wipers, lights and beams, seat belts and other components plays a critical role in preventing injuries, deaths and loss of property.

    The ASA is a long-time supporter of vehicle safety inspections and opposes this bill in addition to legislation that would decrease the required frequency of inspection.

    “The Texas Senate has an opportunity to do the right thing for their constituents by not advancing this bill," said Bob Redding, ASA’s Washington, D.C., representative. "Texas has a successful vehicle inspection program that protects the motoring public. This private-public partnership program should not be eliminated. Instead, the legislature should heed its own study’s recommendations and consider adding additional inspection items to the program.”

    The ASA thanked its Texan members and allies who contacted their state legislators to educate them on this issue, and urged them to oppose the bill. ASA continued to encourage Texas residents to email their state senators by visiting this website.

    Source: ASA

  • Auto Cruising Legal in CA Starting Jan. 1

    Auto Cruising Legal in CA Starting Jan. 1

    Local authorities will no longer be allowed to regulate or ban cruising.

    Written by Autobody News Staff
    Published
    Oct. 24, 2023

    California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 436 into law to allow automobile cruising activities to return statewide as of Jan. 1, 2024. Previously, local authorities could pass ordinances that regulated or prohibited cruising. 

    Authored by Assembly Member David Alvarez (D-San Diego), the SEMA-supported effort followed a resolution approved by the legislature last year to celebrate the history and culture of automobile cruising and encourage local officials and law enforcement to work with local car clubs to conduct safe cruising events.

    For more information, contact Colby Martin at san@sema.org
     

  • Auto Repair Industry Could Benefit from Tax Relief Act

    Tax-Relief-Act-2024-proposed

    The proposed bill would alleviate financial strains faced by independent repair shops grappling with technological advancements.

  • Auto Theft Bill Advances in Colorado Senate

    Colorado-bill-stolen-cars-felonies

    Auto Theft Bill Advances in Colorado Senate

    Written by Joe Mueller, The Center Square
    Published
    Feb. 28, 2023

    A bill making all auto thefts felonies was praised by law enforcement officers, prosecuting attorneys, mayors and victims before it was voted out of Colorado’s Senate Judiciary Committee on Feb. 27.

    Senate Bill 23-097 also would eliminate penalties based on the value of the stolen vehicle. It now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

    “A colleague said to me earlier today this was a message bill,” said Sen. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs, who co-sponsored the legislation. “We do message bills. In some sense, every bill we pass has a message. It’s a message about what we believe. … This bill is a message to criminals.”

    Current law states theft of a vehicle worth $2,000 or less is a misdemeanor. The proposed bill would eliminate penalties based on the value of the vehicle or vehicles stolen.

    “It’s a provision of our state law that just doesn’t make sense,” said co-sponsor Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, D-Arvada.

    Several others testified in agreement with Zenzinger.

    “So if a motor vehicle thief steals the 2022 BMW, he or she can be charged with a high level felony,” Brian Mason, district attorney in Colorado's 17th Judicial Circuit, testified. “But if have they steal a 2003 HondaAccord, they can only be charged with a misdemeanor. This law discriminates against the poor, and it's a terrible inequity.”

    Arvada Police Chief Ed Brady testified all Coloradans are affected by auto theft.

    “Even if you personally have not had your car stolen, everyone's car insurance rates will increase to deal with the financial impacts of car thefts,” Brady testified. “This hurts us all.”

    Mitch Morrissey of the Common Sense Institute testified Colorado started to “go soft on auto theft” in 2014 and again in 2019, resulting in increases in stolen vehicles.

    “I believe that this bill will have the opposite impact,” Morrissey said. “And the reason it will have the opposite impact is that we're basically making auto theft a crime in the state of Colorado again. It is a serious crime. It is a crime that occurs at a very high volume by a very few number of people. And I think that if you address those people in a way that prevents them from stealing cars, then it will have an impact.”

    The bill’s fiscal note said prison operating costs will increase by $12 million during a five-year period if the bill becomes law.

    “I don't believe you're going to see the prison filled with auto thieves,” Morrissey said. “I believe judges will take these offenses, those arrested and charged, more seriously. As the district attorney would say, they’ll work out something that prevents them from stealing cars as opposed to having to fill those limited cells that we have with auto thieves.”

    Only one person testified against the bill, stating it wouldn’t be effective without the judicial system carrying out the law.

    “We have had decades of watching what happens when we increase penalties and increase offense classifications,” said Tristan Gorman of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar. “Incarceration does go up, but it is not a general deterrent effect on the offense itself. What would be a general deterrent effect on this offense is if people thought they were going to be arrested and prosecuted for it.”

    We thank The Center Square for reprint permission.

  • Auto Thefts Will Be Felonies Regardless of Value of Vehicle in New Colorado Bill

    Auto Thefts Will Be Felonies Regardless of Value of Vehicle in New Colorado Bill

    Written by Joe Mueller, The Center Square
    Published
    Jan. 31, 2023

    A bipartisan bill introduced in the Colorado Senate would make all automobile thefts felonies and eliminate penalties based on the value of a stolen vehicle.

    Senate Bill 23-097, sponsored by Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, D-Arvada, and Sen. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs, was introduced Jan. 30. The duo held a press conference at the capitol and were joined by members of law enforcement, civic leaders and district attorneys in praising the legislation for its support of crime victims.

    “Right now, the severity of the penalty for stealing a car depends on the value of the stolen vehicle,” Zenzinger said. “This simply doesn't make sense. It shouldn't matter if a stolen car is a brand new BMWworth more than most folks make in a year, or a 20-year-old Prius, like mine, worth $700. A car is a car and the crime of stealing one should be treated the same. That's why a key provision of our bill is to make most motor vehicle thefts in Colorado a felony, regardless of the stolen cars value.”

    Colorado leads the nation in auto theft, Colorado Senate Republicans noted in a news release. Approximately 41,225 vehicles were stolen in Colorado last year, a 10% increase from 2021, Denver 7 reported.

    “Last year, close to $1 billion worth of vehicles were stolen from Colorado residents,” Gardner said. “That's a huge number. But it doesn't begin to describe the hardship and burden of auto theft, particularly on those families that are economically challenged. That vehicle might be their single means of transportation to take their children to school, to medical appointments and to go to work.”

    Current law states vehicle theft is a class 3 felony if it’s worth more than $100,000; class 4 if more than $20,000 but less than $100,000; class 5 if $20,000 or more; class 6 if $2,000 or more but less than $20,000; and a class 1 misdemeanor if the value is less than $2,000.

    Prison sentences for class 3 to 5 felonies range from one to 12 years and penalties range from $1,000 to $750,000, according to the 2020 Colorado Crime Classification Guide.

    “I support this legislation because we must unwind and disentangle the wealth of the victim from the criminal liability of the offender,” said Alexis King, district attorney for the First Judicial District in Gilpin and Jefferson counties.

    King also said addressing staffing levels of law enforcement agencies and harm of the opioid epidemic will curtail auto thefts.

    “Addiction is the driver of crime and we have yet to effectively address the impact of opioids in our communities, in our justice system and as a society,” King said. “My point is we have more work to do, but I’m proud to be standing here with these leaders.”

    We thank The Center Square for reprint permission.

  • Automakers Seek to Block Enforcement of MA Right to Repair Law

    Massachusetts-Right-to-Repair-law-blocked

    Automakers Seek to Block Enforcement of MA Right to Repair Law 

    PublishedMay 30, 2023

    The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a trade group representing automakers, on May 26 asked a federal judge to stop Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell from enforcing a Right to Repair law originally approved by the state's voters in November 2020.

    Campbell announced in March she would take action to implement the law beginning June 1. Less than a week before that date, the alliance asked the judge to issue a temporary injunction, blocking the law from being enforced, until the judge issues a final decision in a case brought by the alliance after the 2020 referendum vote.

    That 2020 referendum was approved by 75% of voters, who wanted to require automakers to allow access to their vehicles' data, so owners could get them fixed by independent auto repairers if they choose, rather than be forced to go to dealership service centers.

    The Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition commended Campbell in March for deciding to move forward, despite the lack of a decision by a federal court, with implementing the Right to Repair law.

    On May 26, the coalition issued a statement on what it described as "car manufacturers show[ing] their disdain for the will of the voters and their own customers" by filing the motion to stop the law from being enforced.

    “On behalf of independent repair shops and their customers, we are disappointed but not surprised that car manufacturers would try to stop a law that 75% of Massachusetts voters supported at the ballot box,” said Tommy Hickey, director of the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition. “We expect that the judge will see this for what it is, a profit-driven delay tactic by automakers to force car and truck owners to go to their dealerships to pay more for repairs.”

    The Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition represents more than 4,000 members statewide, including independent repair shops, Massachusetts auto parts stores, the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Massachusetts, the New England Tire and Service Association, Automotive Recyclers of Massachusetts and the Automotive Oil Change Association.

    Source: Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition

  • Biden Administration Announces New Tailpipe Emissions Rules

    EPA-final-tailpipe-emission-rule

    Taking into consideration feedback from automakers and the UAW, the final rule adopts a more gradual approach to phasing in regulations and allows for a mix of technologies.

  • Biden Touts Investment in Pennsylvania's Infrastructure

    Biden Touts Investment in Pennsylvania's Infrastructure

    Written by Anthony Hennen, The Center Square
    Published
    Oct. 21, 2022

    President Joe Biden, in a visit to Pittsburgh, PA, on Oct. 20, touted his administration’s infrastructure investments in front of an almost-completed Fern Hollow Bridge that collapsed nine months ago.

    The president spent most of his time emphasizing federal funding for infrastructure projects ranging from roads and bridges to railroads, service pipes, airport terminal upgrades and broadband internet.

    “For most of the last century, we led the world by a significant margin because we invested in our people, we invested in ourselves, we invested in our land,” Biden said. “Along the way we stopped doing that. But not anymore. We’re back on track.”

    He touted the federal money from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that came to the commonwealth.

    “Pennsylvania alone has already received $5.2 billion just this year for hundreds of projects across the commonwealth, and that’s just announced another $2.5 billion to fix and upgrade Pennsylvania's roads and bridges, and there will be billions more for other projects,” Biden said.

    The legislation, passed in November, provided $1.2 trillion in funds for a variety of projects.

    “For too long, we’ve talked about building the best economy in the world and the best infrastructure in the world,” Biden said. “Now, we didn’t do it, but we’re finally getting to it, we’re getting it done.”

    Biden was joined by leading Democrats to include Gov. Tom Wolf, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb.

    "The collapse of the Fern Hollow Bridge was a visceral reminder that Pennsylvania, like many states, is in a race against time to repair aging infrastructure," Wolf said in a release. "This problem isn't unique to our state, but we need solutions urgently---because our communities deserve to know that they can rely on the safety of the bridges, roads and other infrastructure they use every single day."

    Biden also argued the spending will shore up infrastructure and give a boost to most Americans. 

    “This law’s about more than rebuilding our infrastructure, it’s about rebuilding the middle class,” he said. 

    He also connected America’s state of repair with patriotism.

    “When you see these projects in your neighborhoods … I want you to feel the way I feel: pride. Pride in what we can do when we work together, and that’s what I mean when I say we’re building a better America,” Biden said.

    We thank The Center Square for reprint permission.

  • Bill Proposes Increasing Transition of Maine’s State Vehicles to Alternative Energy

    Bill Proposes Increasing Transition of Maine’s State Vehicles to Alternative Energy

    Written by Dave Fidlin, The Center Square
    Published
    April 7, 2023

    A small fraction of Maine’s approximately 3,770 state-owned vehicles are powered by electricity and other alternative forms.

    Newly introduced legislation touted as a lynchpin in Maine’s continued steps toward climate-friendly policy would change the data point in the immediate years ahead.

    On March 31, state Sen. Ben Chipman, D-Portland, went before the Legislature’s Committee on State and Local Government and discussed Legislative Document 655, a bill he is sponsoring and is aimed at combating carbon emissions.

    While Maine’s climate plan, enacted in 2021, notes a desire to transition vehicles used for state business to alternative sources, there are no current legislative mandates in place.

    Chipman said his overarching goal in LD655 is to have more than a goal.

    During the committee’s hour-long preliminary comb-through of the bill, several members raised questions about the logistics of carrying it out. Testimony for and against the legislation also was provided.

    State Rep. Jeffrey Sean Adams, R-Lebanon, said he had concerns with the LD655 draft, which focused only on electric vehicles as an alternative energy source.

    Adams posed several questions, including the impact the EV rollout would have on Maine’s electric grid and the impact of mining and recycling the batteries used to power the vehicles.

    Adams noted emissions in producing the batteries, "just not in our neck off the woods, but overseas.”

    Another common refrain about the transition is the cost, which was not discussed in detail within the confines of the March 31 committee meeting.

    Chipman, however, said he was not concerned about any of the reservations raised, pointing to continuous innovation and local reliance on other energy sources---including wind and solar.

    “The price is coming down over time,” Chipman said. “More people are buying. I think the technology is evolving.”

    Josh Caldwell, climate and clean energy outreach coordinator with the Natural Resource Council of Maine, provided the committee with testimony in support of LD655.

    The legislation, Caldwell said, would be an opportunity to lead by example and achieve some of the targets outlined in Maine’s climate plan.

    “We are in the midst of a clean energy transition, where Maine is a leader,” Caldwell said.

    But Leslie Anderson, president and CEO of the Propane Gas Association of New England, said the organization she represents could not back LD655 as it is written because of its narrow focus on electricity as an alternative energy source.

    “We think that propane is a clean alternative energy and is an essential backup to the electric grid,” Anderson said. “There’s a great future for propane on the renewable front.”

    The Committee on State and Local Government will hold a work session on LD655 to hash over cost and other granular details about the bill’s potential impact. That session has not been scheduled.

    We thank The Center Square for reprint permission.

  • Bronx Lawmakers Want to Bring Auto Repair Shop Oversight

    New-York-auto-repair-oversight-bill

    Bronx Lawmakers Want to Bring Auto Repair Shop Oversight

    Written by John Whittaker, Post-Journal
    Published
    May 16, 2023

    A pair of New York state senators want to bring more oversight of local car repair shops---including allowing a history of parking violations or other complaints to be part of the ability to register cars or receive a state license to operate.

    Sen. Gustavo Rivera, D-Bronx, and Sen. Luis Sepulveda, D-Bronx, have introduced S.5936 to amend the state Vehicle and Traffic Law to create a system in which motor vehicle and repair shops are overseen by a commissioner to make sure they are operating legally. Companion legislation (A.6951) has been introduced by Assemblyman George Alvarez, D-Bronx.

    As written, the legislation would add to existing registration requirements that the commissioner be required to consider the history of violations of state law or reported criminal activity at the location, the effect of vehicle traffic and parking and any other factors specified by state or local law. Local boards would be able to provide a certified letter of support to be considered when the state considers a new license for a repair shop.

    The commissioner would also be given the power to consider a history of repeated parking violations and complaints from municipalities and community organizations as factors to approve or renew a repair shop’s certificate to operate. Sepulveda, Rivera and Alvarez also propose allowing a public hearing to determine if a repair shop’s certificate of registration should be approved or denied.

    “This bill will allow community input on auto shop licensing from their local community board, municipality, and DMV commissioner,” the lawmakers wrote in their legislative justification. “This will allow residents to provide feedback on the community impact of local auto shops during the license renewal process, alerting auto shop owners and the DMV of local impact. Community input prior to licensing and relicensing is not a new idea, it is similar in nature to the SLA soliciting community input prior to granting liquor licenses. Auto shops affect their neighborhoods in various ways, so approval of their application or renewal of a certificate of registration should be subject to a review by the DMV commissioner with the consultation of the local municipalities or community boards.”

    The legislation wouldn’t apply to home-operated repair shops that operate without state licensing. And many of the issues cited by Alvarez, Rivera and Sepulveda are specific to New York City. The lawmakers cite the inability of the New York City Police Department and Department of Sanitation to tow vehicles parked in front of auto shops that are illegally parked every day and say fines and fees aren’t enough to prohibit illegal parking in the city.

    Under current law, the state Motor Vehicles Department does not accept complaints regarding auto shops’ illegal parking in residential areas and does not consider the community impact on the community when considering state-required licenses.

    “Some auto shop businesses participate in illegal activity such as using residential parking for cars under repair and parking cars under repair on the sidewalk, blocking traffic and preventing residents from getting to and from their homes as they are forced to travel in the street,” Sepulveda, Alvarez and Rivera wrote in the legislative justification. “This particularly hinders disabled people from using pedestrian pathways. Neighboring businesses are impeded from receiving goods via truck deliveries. This practice by auto shops also limits residential parking in dense neighborhoods. It is unfair for auto shop businesses to restrict both public sidewalks, traffic flow, and parking from the community for their commercial purposes. These impacts and other input from community members should be important for the state to consider as these businesses seek various approvals, so this bill creates processes in New York City to operationalize such input.”

    We thank the Post-Journal for reprint permission.

  • CA Governor Gets $180 Billion Climate Package Approval

    CA Governor Gets $180 Billion Climate Package Approval

    By Ria Roebuck Joseph, The Center Square
    Published
    July 10, 2023

    The California Senate on July 6 approved Gov. Gavin Newsom's package of up to $180 billion in clean infrastructure, with funds to be disbursed over the next decade. The action is expected to yield 400,000 construction jobs.

    The governor’s package, guided by the final report, is a blueprint for regulation changes and steps for various sectors to promote climate action and develop the required infrastructure to support California’s climate goals.

    Funding will come from the state’s budget, the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and Inflation Reduction Act.

    On May 19, a strike team to work across state agencies to accelerate clean energy and infrastructure projects across California, was created when Newsom signed an executive order requiring its formation.

    The final affirmative vote on the package by the legislature is expected to speed up construction, expedite any legal challenges, allow for change to California law to speed up permitting, address cumbersome environmental processes and establish a Green Bank Financing Program.

    The result of these combined efforts could shorten project timelines by over three years which would save millions of dollars for state and local governments and businesses. It will reduce mountains of paperwork by hundreds of thousands of pages.

    “California is one step closer to building the projects that will power our homes with clean energy, ensure safe drinking water and modernize our transportation system,” Newsom said. “Thanks to our partners in the Legislature, we’re about to embark on a clean construction boom that maximizes the unprecedented funding available from the Biden-Harris administration. I look forward to signing these bills to build California’s clean future, faster.”

    While these proposals promise to build faster it still ensures appropriate environmental review and community engagement, the office of the governor assures. 

    We thank The Center Square for reprint permission.

  • CAA Meeting Focuses on Inflation’s Impact on the Collision Ecosystem

    Tim-Ronak-at-CAA

    Members of the Los Angeles/Orange County chapter of the California Autobody Association (CAA) recently met in Seal Beach, CA, to network, learn from one another and hear up-to-date industry information.
      
    Part of the Sept. 20 event included a presentation from Tim Ronak, senior services business consultant for AkzoNobel, focused on inflation and its impact on the collision ecosystem.

    “Tim spoke about the challenges in the economy and our industry that influence what we are charging our customers,” said CAA President Melanie Allan, vice president of Craftsman Collision USA. “As shop owners and managers, we need to take information like this into consideration when running our businesses so we can stay viable and competitive in what will be an interesting next couple of years.”

    Allan said shops are experiencing increases in operational costs like never before and can’t wait until it’s too late to take action. 

    “We’ve survived the past two years through COVID and crazy inflation,” she said. “We’ll survive the next years as long as we are armed with knowledge.”

    large-group-of-people
    CAA President Melanie Allan, second from left, vice president of Craftsman Collision USA, is pictured with Shane Anondson, far left, Tom Lopez and Lucia Guevara from BASF.

    CAA is comprised of individual and independent businesses in the collision repair industry. Its mission is to enable the auto body industry to survive and prosper by helping members produce a quality repair for the consumer at a fair price for a fair profit.

    “Today, the collision industry is facing unprecedented technological evolution,” said Ronak. “Repairers need to have a single voice as they look for training and insight that helps them in their businesses.”

    Ronak said association involvement allows individual businesses to band together to have a larger voice and a bigger presence in the industry. 

    “Participation in CAA is something I feel should be essential for all repairers in California to stay current with repair procedures, methods and technology to keep consumers safe!” said Ronak.

    “The camaraderie between the shops is reflected in these meetings,” said Cindy Shillito, CAA Southern California representative for the Glendale/Foothills, San Diego and Los Angeles/Orange County chapters, and meeting coordinator. “A lot of friends get together and talk about what is happening in the association and the industry.”

    two-people-standing
    Cindy Shillito, CAA Southern California representative for the Glendale/Foothills, San Diego and Los Angeles/Orange County chapters, and the meeting coordinator, with Jim Williams, NCS.

    As CAA president, Allan encourages the California collision industry to join the association and attend local meetings. “Not only will you gain valuable information and insights in our business, you’ll meet and learn from other shop owners and key participants,” she said. “Shops that think they don’t need an association like CAA are going to get left behind.”

    Allan has worked in body shops since she was 19. Craftsman Collision is owned by her father, Bill, who started the business in 1977 with a single shop and has grown it to include 43 shops across Canada with 500 employees. For the past seven years, Allan has operated Craftsman Collision USA, located in Long Beach, CA, with 22 employees.  

    While attending CAA meetings as a member, Shillito and Anthony Guinn, the previous chapter president, asked Allan to take over as president four years ago. 

    “We’ve had a lot of memorable, well-attended meetings and are going to build the momentum back up now that we can all get together again,” said Allan, who was recently asked to join the state executive committee for CAA.

    Her goal is to provide all members, especially independent shops, the latest information related to management, finance, technology, legislation and general trends in the collision industry.

    “We are an incredible resource!” she said. “I’d like more shops to know that and get involved with CAA. We need each other.”

    The same presentation will be held at the CAA San Diego chapter meeting Oct. 19.  

    For more information about the meeting and/or membership in the Southern California region, contact Cindy Shillito: radiatorgirl@socal.rr.com or 714-944-4028. 

  • CAA Releases Legislative Update After Session Ends

    CAA Releases Legislative Update After Session Ends

    Gov. Gavin Newsom signed several bills before the Oct. 14 deadline.

    Written by Autobody News Staff
    Published
    Oct. 18, 2023

    The California Autobody Association (CAA) released its legislative and regulatory update on proposed bills for October. CAA will continue to review, monitor and report.

    Bureau of Automotive Repair

    AB 1263: This bill, among other things, would maintain the continuation of the BAR Advisory Committee; require employees, such as service writers, who are involved in a BAR violation to attend remedial training; require a salvage rebuilder selling a revived salvage vehicle to provide a consumer with a safety systems certificate and require upcoming BAR towing and storage regulations to reference the civil and vehicle codes and insurance code regulations.
    CAA position: Support. High priority.
    Status: Signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

    Catalytic Converter Theft

    AB 641: Makes it a misdemeanor for someone to possess nine or more used catalytic converters that have been cut from a vehicle unless they are a licensed dismantler.
    CAA position: Watch.
    Status: Signed by Newsom.

    AB 1519: Makes it a misdemeanor to remove, alter or obfuscate any VIN engraved, etched or otherwise marked on a catalytic converter, or from possessing three or more catalytic converters that have been so altered.
    CAA position: Concerns.
    Status: Signed by Newsom.

    SB 55: Prohibits a motor vehicle dealer from selling a vehicle equipped with a catalytic converter unless the converter has been permanently marked with the VIN, the vehicle is sold for dismantling or salvage, the vehicle is sold at a wholesale auction or a buyer declines the marking offered by the dealer.
    CAA position: Watch.
    Status: Signed by Newsom.

    Career Technical Educational

    AB 377: Increases Career Technical Education funding from $300 million each year to $450 million.
    CAA position: Support.
    Status: Held in Senate Appropriations Committee. Two-year bill.

    Employment

    AB 518: Expands the definition of “family member” for purposes of the Paid Family Leave Program to allow workers to take time off to care for a seriously ill designated person.
    CAA position: Watch.
    Status: Senate. Two-year bill.

    AB 524: Adds caregiver status as a protected class under the Fair Employment and Housing Act.
    CAA position: Concerns.
    Status: Vetoed. AB

    1100: Establishes the 32-hour workweek pilot program.
    CAA position: Concerns.
    Status: Assembly. Two-year bill.

    SB 365: Prohibits automatic staying of civil legal proceedings during the pendency of denial or dismissal of a petition to compel arbitration.
    CAA position: Concerns.
    Status: Signed by Newsom.

    SB 399: Enacts the California Worker Freedom from Employer Intimidation Act.
    CAA position: Concerns.
    Status: Held in Assembly Appropriations Committee. Two-year bill.

    SB 616: Modifies employer sick leave and requires an employee have no less than 40 hours of accrued sick leave.
    CAA position: Concerns.
    Status: Signed by Newsom.

    SB 703: Permits a nonexempt employee to request a flexible work schedule providing up to 10 hours per day within a 40-hour workweek without obligation to pay overtime.
    CAA position: Support.
    Status: Senate. Two-year bill.

    SB 799: Allows employees involved in a trade dispute to collect unemployment insurance benefits.
    CAA position: Concerns.
    Status: Vetoed.

    Hazardous Waste

    AB 407: This bill clarifies how material that is exempted from hazardous waste regulation as a used oil under state law can be managed.
    CAA position: Watch.
    Status: Vetoed.

    AB 493: Relates to the California Oil Recycling Enhancement Act.
    CAA position: Watch.
    Status: Two-year bill.

    AB 1614: Requires California Energy Commission to conduct a study on how to phase out the existence of gas fueling stations.
    CAA position: Concerns.
    Status: Vetoed.

    AB 1716: Make various technical changes to the six unified hazardous waste and materials management regulatory program overseen by the Certified United Programs Agencies (CUPAs).
    CAA position: Watch.
    Status: Signed by Newsom.

    Vehicle Batteries

    AB 1579: Requires the state, beginning in 2035, to establish a bid specification for the acquisition of motor vehicles and determining the lowest bidder to consider whether the vehicle is equipped with lithium-ion batteries produced with the least environmental impact.
    CAA position: Watch.
    Status: Two-year bill.

    SB 615: Requires an automotive repair dealer that removes a battery from a vehicle still in service to participate in a core exchange program established by the battery supplier and be responsible for either returning a removed battery to the battery supplier or sending it to a qualified facility.
    CAA position: Concerns.
    Status: Two-year bill.

    Zero Emissions Aftermarket

    SB 301: Requires CARB to establish the Zero Emissions Aftermarket project to provide an applicant with a rebate up to $4,000 for a vehicle that has been converted to a zero-emission vehicle.
    CAA position: Watch.
    Status: Two-year bill.

    Other Bills of Interest

    AB 473: Modifies several laws governing relationships between new motor vehicle manufactures and franchisees that operate car dealerships.
    CAA position: Watch.
    Status: Signed by Newsom.

    AB 1609: Imposes an additional annual $4 charge on motor vehicles to provide funding for air quality management districts to reduce air pollution.
    CAA position: Concerns.
    Status: Two-year bill.

    SB 12: Requires CARB to ensure statewide greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by at least 55% below 1990 levels by Dec. 31, 2030.
    CAA position: Watch.
    Status: Two-year bill.

    SB 429: Establishes vehicle inspection requirements for vehicles used on a Transportation Network Company platform such as Uberand Lyft.
    Status: Vetoed.

    SB 670: Requires CARB to develop a methodology for assessing and spatially representing vehicle miles traveled and to develop maps to display average vehicle miles traveled per capita in the state.
    CAA position: Concerns.
    Status: Senate. Two-year bill.

  • CAA Releases Update on California Legislative Bills

    CAA-California-legislative-bills-update

    CAA Releases Update on California Legislative Bills

    PublishedFeb. 28, 2023

    The California Legislature introduced more than 2,600 new bills this year. Many of these bills are "spot bills," place holders to be amended later with more substantive language.

    CAAis still in the process of reviewing all the bills. Below are bills it has highlighted so far. As CAA continues to review the introduced bills and amendments, it will add to the list. CAA will continue to review, monitor and report.

    Catalytic Converter Theft

    AB 641 - Revises the definition of "automotive dismantler" to include a person who keeps two or more used catalytic converters cut from a vehicle using a sharp instrument.

    AB 1519 - Requires automotive repair dealers (ARDs) that install or replace catalytic converters to permanently mark with VIN; requires smog check stations to visually inspect vehicles and determine whether the catalytic converter is marked with the VIN and notify the customer whether the converter is permanently marked.

    SB 55 - Prohibits a dealer from selling a new vehicle with a catalytic converter unless the converter has been engraved or etched with the VIN.

    Career Technical Educational

    AB 290 - Increases funding to $450 million each year.

    AB 377- Increases funding to $450 million each year.

    AB 1189 - Declares the intent to establish legislation requiring school districts maintaining grades 7-12 to offer Career Technical Education.

    AB 1346 - States the intent to enact legislation relating to career education and guidance.

    Bureau of Automotive Repair

    AB 1263 - Requires the BAR to send specified newsletters at least three times a year.

    Hazardous Waste

    AB 407 - Deletes the criterion that used oil not be subject to regulation as used oil under federal law.

    AB 1614 - Requires State Water Resources to conduct a study on how to phase out the existence of gas fueling stations.

    AB 1716 - Extends risk management prevention program by an operator of station source that is engaged in a manufacturing lithium battery.

    Employment

    AB 518 - Expands eligibility benefits for paid family leave.

    AB 1100 - Declares the intent to establish a four-day workweek.

    SB 616 - Modifies employer sick leave and requires an employee have no less than 56 hours of accrued sick leave.

    SB 703 - Permits a nonexempt employee to request a flexible work schedule providing up to 10 hours per day within a 40-hour workweek without to obligation to pay overtime.

    Vehicle Batteries

    AB 1579- States intent to enact legislation that beginning 2035, electric vehicles used for state purposes to be equipped with lithium-ion batteries sourced from operations with near zero carbon footprints.

    SB 615 - Requires an ARD to be responsible for ensuring responsible end-of-life management of an electric battery once it is removed from a vehicle. 

    Zero Emissions Aftermarket

    SB 301 - Requires CARB to establish the Zero Emissions Aftermarket project to provide an applicant with a rebate for a vehicle that has been converted to a zero-emission vehicle.

    Source: CAA

  • CAA Says a New Kind of Insurer Steering is Impacting the Industry

    Steering a car

    CAA Says a New Kind of Insurer Steering is Impacting the Industry

    Written by Ed Attanasio, Autobody News
    Published July 5, 2022

    The California Autobody Association (CAA) recently held a one-hour Zoom meeting with the California Department of Insurance (CA-DOI), covering a handful of topics of interest to the entire membership.

    One particular subject that has been a pebble in CAA’s shoe for several years was brought up again during the meeting. You might be thinking that pebble was illegal steering, but you’d only be half right.

    When we talk about steering in this industry, it’s usually about insurers trying to persuade consumers to take their vehicles to DRP shops, because those shops offer the insurer more attractive labor rates, and in many cases, a promise to use the lowest priced parts available.

    Instead, this is about “parts steering." Parts steering is where insurance companies search a multitude of different online vendors scattered across the country to find each part at the lowest price, and then cap payment on their estimate based on that price. Sound reasonable?

    Monte Etherton, chairman of the CAA State Legislation Committee and state board member of CAA's San Diego chapter, has been monitoring this situation for years and doesn’t think it’s reasonable at all.

    “Here’s an analogy,” he said. “Your 8-year-old car needs some work, so you take it to the dealer and they give you an estimate for $3,500. You tell them you’ll get back to them. Their estimate lists five parts that total $2,000 of the $3,500. Since you want to save some money, you start scouring the internet for those parts.

    "You find the cheapest parts from five different online stores, and all offer free shipping. Buying those parts instead of the parts from the dealer will save you almost $500. You make a neat list of all the store’s phone numbers and the prices and take it back to the dealer and ask them to buy the parts they need from those places so you can save some money. What do you think they would do?”

    Etherton cites “parts steering” as a major problem in the industry.

    “Some insurance companies will only pay us based on the price of the cheapest parts, so they are literally forcing us to buy certain parts from their vendors or lose money," he said.

    “I did one job on a Volkswagen where the insurance company’s estimate had an aftermarket headlight from an out-of-town vendor, because it was cheaper than my local aftermarket supplier," Etherton said. "I emailed them that they can't require me to buy a part from a specific supplier, and they replied with this fallacy: ‘We can’t tell you where to purchase your parts, but we don’t owe more because you select a different vendor.’”

    In 2018, CAA received a written legal opinion from the CA-DOI in response to questions regarding several industry problems, including parts steering. Two paragraphs from the opinion explain how parts steering is related to customer steering, which is illegal in California:

    “No insurer may require that an automobile be repaired at a specific automobile repair shop. (Cal. Ins. Code §758.5(a)). If the claimant elects to have the vehicle repaired at the shop of his or her choice, the insurer may not limit or discount the reasonable repair costs based on charges that would have been incurred had the vehicle been repaired by the insurer’s preferred shop. (Cal. Ins. Code §758.5(d)). As a result, by refusing to pay any reasonable price for a replacement part that is higher than the price quoted by the insurer’s preferred parts vendors, the insurer is limiting or discounting the reasonable repair costs based on the charges that would have been incurred had the vehicle been repaired by the insurer’s chosen repair shop thereby preventing customers from using the repair shop of their choice and preventing the policyholder from using any shop other than those shops that purchase their replacement crash parts from the preferred parts vendors of the insurer.

    “Limiting or discounting the reasonable repair costs based on the charges that would have been incurred had the vehicle been repaired by the insurer’s chosen repair shop is a violation of Insurance Code section §758.5(b) (3) and would constitute a violation of the Unfair Insurance Practices Act. Cal. Ins. Code §758.5(f). That is, if an insurer limits or discounts the reasonable repair costs based upon the replacement part prices available from a certain parts vendor, the insurer would effectively prevent a customer from using the automobile repair shop of his or her choice in violation of Insurance Code section 758.5(b)(3). An insurer would, however, be permitted to reasonably adjust a collision repair shop’s written parts price estimate for any part, including new OEM crash parts, if the insurer demonstrates that the price charged by the repair shop for the replacement part is “unreasonable.” 10 CCR §2695.8(f).”

    Read the full legal opinion here.

    This opinion was also a topic of the Zoom meeting. Both the DOI’s deputy commissioner and the Claims Services Bureau chief urged shops experiencing this problem to send a copy of the DOI letter to the insurer with their supplement.

    Miscategorized Parts

    There is another facet to this problem. In California, the law requires shops only list parts on their estimate as new, used, reconditioned, rebuilt, an OEM crash part or a non-OEM aftermarket crash part. Insurers are also supposed to follow these regulations when writing estimates, but some do not.

    “A few months back, we had a 2021 Mercedes in the shop," Etherton said. "It only had 1,000 miles on it and was hit pretty hard in the right suspension. The customer’s insurer specified 13 used, non-OEM or reconditioned parts from six different vendors located in California, Texas, Michigan and Oregon. The parts' prices ranged from about $10 to $1,000.

    “Some of the part descriptions were really questionable, like a reconditioned upper control arm and a reconditioned engine cradle, and a used wheel that was also refurbished. By law, we have to be crystal clear about parts with our customer, but how can I do that if I don’t even know what they are?" Etherton continued. "And none of these parts had a manufacturer’s warranty, something we would get if we bought them from the dealer. We ended up losing that job because we believed new genuine factory parts belonged on that car, and the customer didn’t want to pay the difference. She did tell me she was changing insurance companies though.”

     

    The Difference Between Opt-OEM Parts and Genuine OEM Parts

    Many parts on insurers' estimates have been miscategorized with such terms as “alt-OEM”, “opt-OEM” and “surplus-OEM." In reality, these parts may be over-production, blemished or damaged OEM parts. One thing they all have in common is none of them carry the original car manufacturer’s warranty.

    Every part sold by every vehicle manufacturer has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), which is the price a shop charges for the part. In contrast, opt-OEM parts do not have an MSRP, only a cost. When a part does not have an MSRP, insurers will allow a “markup," usually 20%.

    Etherton thinks he knows how opt-OEM came into existence.

    “Let’s say a shop buys a bumper from a Chevy dealer that has an MSRP of $200, and the shop gets it for $140 wholesale. The shop will make a $60 profit," he said.

    “Let’s also say an opt-OEM vendor---maybe a wrecking yard---has bought 50 of those bumpers on the gray market for $120 each. They offer the bumper to insurers for $150. The insurer marks the part up $30---20%---for the shop. The insurer now gets the $200 bumper for $180, but the shop loses half their profit, the shop’s Chevy dealer loses a sale and the customer loses the Chevy factory warranty because the shop didn’t purchase the part from the dealer. Who wins here?”

    Another issue is some vendors are mislabeling their parts to gain an advantage with insurers.

    “Something else we see is when the vendor lists a bumper cover as a used part when it’s actually a new 'surplus part," Etherton said. "Many new factory bumpers are raw plastic, which requires a special prep to make the paint stick. That prep costs about $100. Since a used bumper is already painted and wouldn’t need that treatment, the insurer won’t put the treatment on their estimate. The problem is, the bumper isn’t a used part, and the work still has to be done.”

    How Shops Choose Which Vendors from Which to Purchase Parts

    Just like any business, body shops must choose their vendors carefully. Shops need to know a vendor will be in business next month or next year if there’s a problem. They need to deal with experts that will send the correct parts the first time, quickly and at no charge, whether that part is a $2.50 fastener or a $700 aluminum hood.

    Another problem Etherton brought up is the logistics of adding unnecessary vendors to his shop’s bookkeeping system and staff.

    “Most online vendors limit what they sell to big-ticket high-volume parts, so they can’t fill a complete order,” he said. “If you buy from one, you either have to pay COD or have an open account, right? Any body shop worth its salt has charge accounts with their vendors because you can't afford to write a check for each invoice and have $100,000 tied up before you get paid.

    "Not being able to use our regular vendors means we have to pay upfront for the parts, either by check or credit card," he said. "And when I call these vendors to see if they really have the part, I usually spend at least five minutes on hold waiting for people to answer the phone. Probably half the time they either don’t have the part, it’s not what they said it was, or they won’t deliver to our area.

    “And if you do buy the part and it's wrong, they already have your money,” Etherton said. “Hopefully they'll give it back, but you need to pay return shipping and wait.

    "The other option is to open an account with each of these vendors. Now if you know anything about bookkeeping, we already have like 50 various parts vendors on our list. If we had to add a new vendor to our database for every time an insurance company found a cheaper part, we’d probably have 200 more vendors, and who's going to keep track of that? Two hundred credit applications? Two hundred more monthly statements to reconcile? It’s ridiculous.”

    Doing the Insurance Adjuster’s Job

    Another subject discussed during the CAA CA-DOI meeting was how insurers are requiring more and more documentation from shops before they will pay the claim. The documentation is in the form of damage photos, work in process photos, purchase invoice copies and more.

    “What happens is that we have a customer who wants us to fix their car, so we write an estimate and send it to their insurance company,” Etherton said. “Now some insurance companies review our estimate and pay it to the penny, while others cut the estimate no matter what you send them. And it’s not uncommon for an insurer to start off low at $2,000 and end up paying an actual cost of $8,000.

    “I think the insurers that cut estimates are just trying to make our job so difficult that we will give up and accept their lowball offers,” he said. “They want pictures and copies of everything, and as I said before, whatever the lowest part prices they can find on the internet is the most they will pay us for the parts we need to fix the car.”

    Etherton’s main point is this---other than allowing the insurer to inspect the car at his shop, he has no obligation to them to document anything. The obligation he does have is to the vehicle owner.

    “The law says if I fix your car, we will have a contract between us, which is my estimate," he said. "I give you the estimate, and then you authorize the estimate so it becomes a work order. So, I repair your car based on that work order. If I don't follow that work order while repairing your car, then I have committed fraud and could lose my license.

    “Even though these insurance companies have the right to inspect the damaged car, they choose not to. It’s easier to deny the claim from a distance than it is in person.”

  • CAA Watching Several CA Bills as Legislature Returns

    CAA Watching Several CA Bills as Legislature Returns

    PublishedSept. 13, 2023

    The California Legislature has returned from summer recess and the California Autobody Association (CAA) anticipates a surge of legislative activity in the coming weeks. CAA has been following these legislative bills, and will continue to monitor and report.

    Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR)

    AB 1263: The bill, among other things, would maintain the continuation of the BAR Advisory Committee; require employees, such as service writers, who are involved in a BAR violation to attend remedial training; require a salvage rebuilder selling a revived salvage vehicle to provide a consumer with a safety systems certificate and require upcoming BAR towing and storage regulations to reference the civil and vehicle codes and insurance code regulations.
    CAA position: Support.
    Status: Senate.

    Catalytic Converter Theft

    AB 641: Makes it a misdemeanor for someone to possess six or more used catalytic converters that have been cut from a vehicle unless they are a licensed dismantler.
    CAA position: Watch.
    Status: Senate.

    AB 1519: Makes it a misdemeanor to remove, alter or obfuscate any VIN engraved, etched or otherwise marked on a catalytic converter, or from possessing 3 or more catalytic converters that have been so altered.
    CAA position: Concerns.
    Status: Senate.

    SB 55: Prohibits a motor vehicle dealer from selling a vehicle equipped with a catalytic converter unless the converter has been permanently marked with the VIN, the vehicle is sold for dismantling or salvage, the vehicle is sold at a wholesale auction or a buyer declines the marking offered by the dealer.
    CAA position: Watch.
    Status: Assembly.

    Career Technical Education

    AB 377: Increases CTE funding from $300 million each year to $450 million.
    CAA position: Support.
    Status: Senate.

    Employment

    AB 518: Expands the definition of “family member” for purposes of the Paid Family Leave Program to allow workers to take time off to care for a seriously ill designated person.
    CAA position: Watch.
    Status: Senate.

    AB 524: Adds caregiver status as a protected class under Fair Employment and Housing Act.
    CAA position: Concerns.
    Status: Senate.

    AB 1100: Establishes the 32-hour workweek pilot program.
    CAA position: Concerns.
    Status: Two-year bill.

    SB 616: Modifies employer sick leave and requires an employee have no less than 56 hours of accrued sick leave.
    CAA position: Concerns.
    Status: Assembly.

    SB 703: Permits a nonexempt employee to request a flexible work schedule providing up to 10 hours per day within a 40-hour workweek without obligation to pay overtime.
    CAA position: Support.
    Status: Failed passage in committee.

    Hazardous Waste

    AB 407: Deletes the criterion that used oil not be subject to regulation as used oil under federal law.
    CAA position: Watch.
    Status: Senate.

    AB 493: Relates to the California Oil Recycling Enhancement Act.
    CAA position: Watch.
    Status: Two-year bill.

    AB 1614: Requires state water resources to conduct a study on how to phase out the existence of gas fueling stations.
    CAA position: Concerns.
    Status: Senate.

    AB 1716: Make various technical changes to the six unified hazardous waste and materials management regulatory program overseen by the Certified United Programs Agencies (CUPAs).
    CAA position: Watch.
    Status: Senate.

    Vehicle Batteries

    AB 1579: Requires the state, beginning in 2035, to establish a bid specification for the acquisition of motor vehicles and determining the lowest bidder to consider whether the vehicle is equipped with lithium-ion batteries produced with the least environmental impact.
    CAA position: Watch.
    Status: Two-year bill.


    CAA Watching Several CA Bills as Legislature Returns (article continued)

    SB 615: Requires an automotive repair dealer that removes a battery from a vehicle still in service to participate in a core exchange program established by the battery supplier and be responsible for either returning a removed battery to the battery supplier or sending it to a qualified facility.  
    CAA position: Concerns.
    Status: Two-year bill.

    Zero Emissions Aftermarket

    SB 301: Requires CARB to establish the Zero Emissions Aftermarket project to provide an applicant with a rebate for a vehicle converted to a zero-emission vehicle.
    CAA position: Watch.
    Status: Assembly.

    Other Bills of Interest

    AB 473: New Motor Vehicle Board. Modifies several laws governing relationships between new motor vehicle manufactures and franchisees that operate car dealerships.
    CAA position: Watch.
    Status: Senate.

    AB 1609: Imposes an additional annual $4 charge on motor vehicles to provide funding for air quality management districts to reduce air pollution.
    CAA position: Concerns.
    Status: Two-year bill.

    SB 12: Requires CARB to ensure statewide greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by at least 55% below 1990 levels by Dec. 31, 2030.
    CAA position: Watch.
    Status: Two-year bill.

    SB 429: Establishes vehicle inspection requirements for vehicles used on a transportation network company platform such as Uberand Lyft.
    CAA position: Watch.
    Status: Assembly.

    SB 670: Requires CARB to develop a methodology for assessing and spatially representing vehicle miles traveled and to develop maps to display average vehicle miles traveled per capita in the state.
    CAA position: Concerns.
    Status: Two-year bill.

  • CAA: Replacement Tire Efficiency Regulations Should Not Include Auto Body Shops 

    CEC-CAA-tire-retailer-regulations-auto-body-shops-California

    CAA: Replacement Tire Efficiency Regulations Should Not Include Auto Body Shops

    Written by Ed Attanasio, Autobody News
    Published
    March 23, 2023

    The California Energy Commission (CEC) is in the process of creating new regulations to require all tire retailers---including auto body shops---to post signs and provide disclosures to consumers purchasing replacement tires. The California Autobody Association (CAA) is concerned and is requesting the CEC provide an exemption for auto body and collision shops beginning April 1, 2025.

    Should these regulations include body shops? In the past, collision repair has gotten lumped in with other auto repair business categories. Is this the case with these new tire regulations?

    Autobody News sat down with Jack Molodanof, CAA lobbyist, who shared the organization’s concerns about this proposed regulation and how it can affect body shops if passed as written.

    What are these regulations and why is the CAA concerned about how it will impact body shops?

    These regulations are intended to implement a replacement tire program and tire star rating system to increase energy efficiency of replacement tires in California. The regulations are based on legislation that passed 20 years ago, AB 844. Overall, the CAA is supportive of efforts making tires more energy efficient for consumers. Unfortunately, the regulations are drafted so broadly that they capture and include auto body repair shops in the definition of tire dealers.

    Auto body and collision repair facilities are auto repair dealers who perform repairs or reconstruction of automobile or truck bodies, structures or frames. While performing such collision repairs, it may be necessary replace a damaged wheel and tire.

    The auto body repair business is not in the primary business of selling tires to the general public but will locate a replacement tire to match the damaged tire as part of the collision repair. Consumers do not go to auto body shops to buy a new set of replacement tires. Consumers go to auto body repair facilities because of a vehicle accident and wish to have collision damage repaired. The auto body dealer is not a "tire dealer” or “tire retailer” as contemplated by these regulations. It would be unreasonable to expect an auto body repair shop to meet the proposed regulation requirements.

    The California Air Resources Board took such types of low volume businesses in consideration when they developed the "check and inflate" tire regulations and provided exemptions for certain businesses. As an alternative to an exemption, CAA has recommended the definition of tire dealer and retailer be revised to include only those that are primarily in the business of selling tires which would exempt the occasion tire replacement situations.

    If these regulations pass, will it create more work for body shops?

    The language in the regulation requiring pricing information on signage for each replacement tire is vague, ambiguous and unworkable for auto repair shops. The regulations state “that each physical retail location must prominently display a tire replacement sign displaying the price of any replacement tire and also include California Tire Efficiency Rating and potential to reduce fuel consumption, the potential driver cost savings and general environmental benefits. The sign must display the web address and provide a QR code linking to the Energy Commission’s Replacement Tire Efficiency Program search page. The signs must also meet certain, dimension, point type and height requirements.”

    Displaying pricing information for each replacement tire is unworkable for dealers. Some retail tire dealers have hundreds of tires in stock and prices change regularly due to economic factors. The tire dealer would literally need a sign for each tire, meaning hundreds of individual signs, and every time prices change, they would have to replace each sign. This is not practical.

    Auto repair dealers such as auto body shops do not have tires in stock. They either order from a distributor or sublet the tire repairs. Having signs with pricing when they don't even know the price until they purchase from a third party is unfair and unreasonable.

    The sign posting language requirements is restrictive, burdensome and may not accomplish the proposed regulation goals. The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR), which regulates all auto repair shops, including tire dealers, currently has its own sign requirements. The BAR requirements provide the shop flexibility to ensure signage is placed in a location where it is clearly visible to the general public, and these regulations should provide the same flexibility.

    Will these signs even be effective to educate consumers on tire efficiency?

    There are so many signs that are already required to be posted by dealers, such as BAR signs, Prop 65 signs, smog check signs, brake station signs, storage signs, battery fee signs, video recording signs, ADA signs, etc., and permit postings such as business licenses, fire permits, air quality management permits and the list goes on.

    There is a proliferation of signs currently required to be posted by dealers and the question becomes: how effective would another sign be in a shop? Is this really the most effective way to educate consumers about tire efficiency? CAA is also concerned that the specific sign placement requirements may end up being an opportunity for predatory attorneys to file frivolous lawsuits against small businesses because the sign wasn’t in the proper location.

    Are there any other concerns about the regulation?

    Independent verification of disclosure: There will be more paperwork for shops with these regulations too. Stated in the regulations, upon request of a customer, a tire dealer shall provide the customer with a Tire Energy Efficiency Disclosure for any replacement tire that the tire retailer offers for sale. The Tire Energy Efficiency Disclosure shall display the tire brand name, rolling resistance star rating, treadwear and traction rating, the peak traction rating, the operating cost and QR code to the Energy Commission’s Tire Replacement Program.

    The regulations are unclear whether the auto repair shop must independently verify these disclosures to make sure it’s accurate. Will the shop be able to rely on the tire manufacturer disclosures and simply pass information along to consumer without liability? It would be impractical to have a shop independently verify tire energy disclosure information for every tire it sells. Who is ultimately responsible for this information?


    CAA: Replacement Tire Efficiency Regulations Should Not Include Auto Body Shops (article continued)

    Existing inventory of tires: Do tire dealers have to stop selling noncompliant efficiency rated tires on Jan. 1, 2025? How do tire dealers handle exiting tire inventory that is noncompliant after the deadline to comply? Will tires manufactured before the deadline be exempt?

    Identifying and confirming compliant tires: How do tire dealers easily ascertain and verify that the tires are California compliant? Will tire manufacturers be required to mark tires as California compliant? If so, with what type of markings? If not, how will the tire dealer ascertain and verify compliance?

    Documentation: What documentation and records will be necessary for the tire dealer to show that they are in compliance?

    Enforcement: Will the CEC be enforcing this new law or other agencies such as the BAR enforce?

    Economic impacts and cost to small businesses: Has the CEC conducted any research or gathered any information as to the economic impacts and costs to small business ARDs, if these regulations were implemented?

  • California BAR Advisory Group Holds Meeting

    CA-BAR-Advisory-meeting-January-2024

    The California Autobody Association (CAA) provided an overview of the most recent group meeting held in Sacramento.

  • California Bill Would Mandate Speed Limiter Tech in New Vehicles

    CA-speed-limiter-new-cars-bill

    The proposed law would ensure new vehicles do not exceed the speed limit by more than 10 mph unless authorized.

  • California Bills Aim to Regulate Autonomous Vehicles

    California-new-laws-2024-AV-10,000-pounds

    The bills would require a human operator for any AV weighing more than 10,000 pounds, and approval from a municipality before operating there.

  • California Considers Authorizing Self-Driving Semi-Trucks

    California Considers Authorizing Self-Driving Semi-Trucks

    Written by Maggie Angst, The Sacramento Bee
    Published
    Jan. 31, 2023

    Following years of pleadings from the autonomous vehicle industry, California officials are revisiting a statewide policy that prohibits self-driving semi-trucks and big rigs on its roads. 

    Should California regulators decide to open the floodgates, two state legislators are pushing to limit any potential fallout. Asm. Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters, on Jan. 26 filed new legislation requiring a trained individual behind the wheel in any autonomous vehicle that weighs more than 10,001 pounds. Asm. Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, and Asm. Ash Kalra, D-San Jose, co-authored the bill. 

    The proposal comes as the California Department of Motor Vehicles hosts a public workshop Feb. 3 to discuss modifying regulations around large autonomous vehicles.

    To read more, see The Sacramento Bee.

  • California Launches Salvage Vehicle Inspection Program

    California-salvage-vehicle-inspection-program

    The new program aims to safeguard roads and protect consumers from fraud and illegal activities associated with salvaged vehicles.

  • California Reintroduces Bill to Require Human Operators for Self-Driving Trucks

    CA-AB-2286-AV-tractor-trailers-human-operators

    Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a similar bill in 2023.

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