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John Yoswick

John YoswickJohn Yoswick is a freelance automotive writer based in Portland, Oregon, who has been writing about the collision industry since 1988. He is the editor of the weekly CRASH Network (for a free 4-week trial subscription, visit www.CrashNetwork.com).


He can be contacted at john@crashnetwork.com 

Tuesday, 05 October 2021 21:08

Lawmakers in 3 States Tackle Topics Impacting Collision Repairers

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Legislatures in three states in recent weeks have taken action on proposed laws related to auto body shop labor rates, dealerships’ sale of non-OEM parts and public disclosure of regulatory citations against shops. Legislatures in three states in recent weeks have taken action on proposed laws related to auto body shop labor rates, dealerships’ sale of non-OEM parts and public disclosure of regulatory citations against shops.

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Lawmakers in multiple states have taken action in recent weeks on legislation impacting auto body shops, including new regulations related to labor rates, non-OEM parts and public disclosure of regulatory citations against shops.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, for example, has signed into law a bill calling on that state’s Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) to create a system to give businesses receiving minor BAR citations not involving fraud a way to avoid having those made public.

 

The California Autobody Association and the Automotive Service Association were among 11 trade groups supporting the bill, which creates an independent panel to review BAR citations, and would allow “shops to attend compliance and remedial training for minor record keeping and documentation citation violations, similar to traffic school,” as a means to avoid having such citations made public.

 

The new law also calls for additional safety inspections in order for a salvage vehicle to be registered. The industry associations say that will help “protect consumers from unsafe, revived total loss salvage vehicles” that currently only require “a brake and lamp inspection, smog check and CHP inspection to make sure there are no stolen parts---nothing else.”

 

At the other end of the country, Massachusetts legislator comments during a committee hearing in Septmeber could indicate repairers there are finally getting their message across about the need to address collision repair labor rates in the state.

 

The state legislature’s Joint Committee on Financial Services held the hearing to collect testimony on a number of auto repair-related bills that propose setting a minimum reimbursement rate for labor by insurers to claimants. 

 

“Massachusetts has the lowest labor rate reimbursement in the nation,” Evangelos “Lucky” Papageorg, executive director of the Alliance of Automotive Service Professionals (AASP) of Massachusetts, told the committee members. “The number of shops has dwindled by 1,000. But there’s also been an increasingly fewer number of individuals getting into the collision repair industry as [technicians] because they can make more money working as an unskilled laborer than they can [as a] skilled repairer in a collision repair facility. Working at labor rates that are 30 years old is absolutely ludicrous.”

 

Also testifying in favor of the bill was Brian Mountain, body shop director at Collision 24 in Brockton, MA.

 

“The hourly rate of reimbursement in 1988 was an average of $30,” Mountain said. “Today it is an average of $40. The rate has gone up approximately 33% in 33 years while my other business costs have skyrocketed. I’ve seen insurance premiums go up...


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