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1HomePageMap small w 0816Local news stories affecting the auto body industry in California, NevadaOregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Hawaii, Alaska and Wyoming

According to the California Environmental Protection Agency's Air Resources Board, hybrid vehicles with the yellow Clean Air Vehicle stickers will no longer have access to High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) or carpool lanes with only one occupant.

The EPA decided to allow only white Clean Air Vehicle sticker carrying vehicles in HOV lanes with a single occupant after the popularity of hybrid vehicles has become too much for HOV lanes to handle.

California law allows single-occupant use of HOV lanes by qualifying clean alternative fuel vehicles. Use of these lanes with only one occupant requires a Clean Air Vehicle Sticker issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

There are two types of stickers; White Clean Air Vehicle Stickers are available to an unlimited number of qualifying Federal Inherently Low Emission Vehicles (ILEVs). Cars that meet these requirements are typically certified pure zero emission vehicles (100% battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell) and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. Assembly Bill 1500 extended the expiration of white stickers to January 1, 2015.

In the fall of 2006, five independent-minded shop owners in Northern California agreed that the collision industry needed steering —toward better protection for shop owners and consumers, that is.

“They were tired of the manner in which industry issues were being addressed and wanted to take a more aggressive stance on the issues,” says Lee Amaradio, CRA’s second president and owner of Faith Quality Auto Body in Murietta. “We lobby our positions vigorously,” says Amaradio.

Those founding members are current board members and shop owners Roy Carnevale, Anthony’s Auto Craft,  San Rafael, and Blake Andros, Blake’s Auto Body, with shops in Marin and Sonoma counties, as well as Byron Orris, Byron’s Auto Body in Napa, an owner and general member.

Two of the original founders, Todd Bishop and Gene Crozat, are no longer members. Crozat, the original president and owner of three G&C AutoBody shops in Northern California, had been critical of CRA’s direction even before his departure.

“The association grew out of frustration with the way industry issues were being addressed,” says Allen Wood, executive director for CRA. Owner of a consulting business, he was formerly a program manager for the California Bureau of Automotive Repair.

A Nevada legislative subcommittee has agreed to seek a bill requiring auto shops to check the air pressure in customer vehicles.

State Sen. Mike Schneider, a Las Vegas Democrat, says it will increase highway safety, save gas and reduce air pollution.

The bill would be considered during the 2011 legislative session.

Not all lawmakers were for it.

Republican Assemblywoman Heidi Gansert of Reno said while checking air pressure in tires is a good idea, she opposed mandating tire checks, saying it comes down to personal responsibility.

The California Assembly Committee on Business, Professions and Consumer Protection did not take up Senate Bill 350, a bill regulating aftermarket crash parts. This replacement crash parts legislation prohibits insurers from mandating the use of non-original equipment manufacturer (non-OEM) aftermarket crash parts (ACPs) unless the following requirements are met:

• The parts are at least equal to the original equipment manufacturer parts in terms of kind, quality, safety, fit and performance.

• The insurer specifying the use of non-original equipment manufacturer aftermarket crash parts shall pay the cost of any modifications to the parts that may become necessary to affect the repair.

• The insurer specifying the use of non-original equipment manufacturer aftermarket crash parts shall warrant that those parts are of like kind, quality, safety, fit and performance as original equipment manufacturer aftermarket crash parts.

• All original and non-original equipment manufacturer aftermarket crash parts manufactured on or after Jan. 1, 2011, when supplied by auto body repair shops, as defined in Section 9889.51 of the Business and Professions Code, shall carry sufficient permanent, non-removable identification so as to identify the manufacturer. This identification shall be accessible to the greatest extent possible after installation.

See July Autobody News for more details on this bill

The California Department of Insurance and the Attorney General's Office held joint meetings on June  24th and 25th with insurers, suppliers, manufacturers and trade associations that are a part of the supply chain for aftermarket parts specified during  the settlement of insurance claims.

CRA has challenged the insurance industry's compliance with regulations that call for aftermarket parts specified in the claims process to be at least equal to the original equipment manufacturer  parts in terms of kind, quality, safety, fit and performance.

California Repair Association President Lee Amaradio stated, "It is encouraging to see the  Department of Insurance and the Attorney General's office showing interest in the is important consumer issue, though the outcome is uncertain . We hope their involvement will result in permanent change and a fair and compliant claims  process. All most all insurers have recognized the issue and stopped specifying non-compliant parts and they should be commended for that. We now need a permanent solution."

Amaradio added "this all started when Toby Chess demonstrated differences between OEM and non-original equipment manufacturer aftermarket  crash parts.  CRA recognized the importance of his demonstration and moved the issue forward putting pressure on CDI to fulfill its regulatory mandate. It appears they may now  be doing so."

CRA Executive Director Allen Wood  added, "vehicles should not be reengineered as part of the claims process.  The regulations governing these issues deal with insurance not auto repair. We want to insure that consumers (claimants)  receive high quality, competent,  safe repairs. The evolution of this issue is a graphic example of how a trade association that is responsive to the issues and is willing to step up can promote change. This is not over.  However, with the Attorney General involved, we are extremely encouraged."

The June 16th Pasadena CAA chapter meeting at the usual location, Brookside Country Club, was presided over by Linda Holcomb in the absence of President Curt Nixon. Linda reminded the group that July 1st, AQMD Rule 1147 goes into effect that, among other things, stipulates that a spray booth heater must be certified to meet a new 30 ppm requirement. A handout from Rely On Technologies provided specification details for the group.

Past President Nathan Simmons presented a CRA report and urged members to come to a fund-raiser for insurance commissioner candidate Dave Jones. Nathan pointed out that Dave has asserted that he has accepted no money from the insurance industry. (See flyer on p. 4 this issue.)

After dinner, Linda introduced the speaker for the meeting, Dale Delmege, Executive V.P. of Operations for Mitchell until 1994, and a principal with Chelsea Group and D.D. Partners, a marketing and organizational consulting company with clients like Dupont, BASF, LKQ, Carstar and ABRA.

Delmege’s topic, “A Perfect Storm,” had elements that will be included in a June 28th issue of Claims Magazine, under the title: “Watch Out For That Fourth Step.” With more than thirty years in the collision industry, Delmege promised to enlighten the group on what to do about the situation where 40,000 shops in the U.S. are competing for the declining amount of collision repair work that could easily be handled by 8,000 shops.