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Western News

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

In February this year, legislation to quintuple the monetary fines (to $5000) and double the jail time (to a year) that may be levied on any automotive repairer that fails to properly replace a deployed airbag was introduced by California State Senator Leland Yee.

Existing law provides that a person who fails to comply is guilty of a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine not exceeding $1,000, by imprisonment not exceeding 6 months, or by both fine and imprisonment. This bill would provide that an automotive repair dealer who prepares a written estimate for repairs that includes replacement of a deployed airbag, as specified, who fails to repair and fully restore the airbag, as specified, is guilty of a misdemeanor that is punishable by a $5,000 fine, by one year imprisonment in a county jail, or by both fine and imprisonment.

The bill has been assigned to the Senate committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development. The hearing is scheduled to be held on Monday, April 25 at 1:30 p.m. in Room 3191.

The full text of the bill follows:

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1. Section 9884.76 is added to the Business and Professions Code, to read:
9884.76. Notwithstanding Section 9889.20, an automotive repair dealer who prepares a written estimate for repairs pursuant to Section 9884.9 that includes replacement of a deployed airbag that is part of an inflatable restraint system, and who fails to repair and fully restore the airbag to its original operating condition, where the customer has paid for the airbag as provided in the estimate, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of five thousand dollars ($5,000) or by imprisonment in a county jail for one year or by both that fine and imprisonment.

SEC. 2. No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.

Because this bill would create a new crime, the bill would create a state-mandated local program. The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement. This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

Randall Swedlove has been appointed to the California/Nevada/Arizona Automotive Wholesalers Association’s (CAWA) Board of Directors representing Morris Automotive Supply in Fontana, California.

He was appointed by Chair of the Board, Mary Davis of NGK Spark Plugs in Sacramento, California. “Mr. Swedlove is a long time CAWA member and represents a segment of our membership that has historically supported the Association throughout the three states we represent,” said Davis. “Mr. Swedlove’s participation will be critical to the Association’s future goals and we’ll welcome his contributions to the automotive aftermarket industry and its trade Association," said Chair Davis following the appointment.

CAWA is an automotive aftermarket trade association, which represents auto parts jobbers, warehouse distributors, retailers, manufacturers and manufacturer representatives in California, Nevada and Arizona. The Association provides education, legislative, regulatory and business support to the industry and its membership. It is one of the largest trade associations of its kind in the United States and recognized as a leader in the automotive aftermarket industry.

For more information please visit www.cawa.org.

Car Warriors is the new hit TV show on Speed. It’s the fastest, most action-packed custom-car show in the channel’s history. Each week, the pros, an All-Star regular-cast team of eight renowned car builders, six men  and two women, is confronted by a shop team of eight car builders, also pros but not so well-known. In three sleep-deprived 24-hour days, each team must take the same stripped down vehicle, which they see for the first time on day one, and turn it into an automotive work of art. What ensues is a marathon of frenzied car construction that taxes each team member to his or her limits.

Tucson-based auto body repairer, 911 Collision Centers, has just unveiled its 2011 fundraising vehicle, a beautifully restored and modified 1966 Ford Mustang.

The company is donating the vehicle as top prize in a raffle to benefit the 911 Collision Centers Community Foundation’s 2011 beneficiaries—Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

The vehicle was purchased by the company and the retro-mod project became a “labor of love” under the direction of Michael Mars, 911 Collision Centers Tucson operations manager, and the team of technicians who donated their time to this fundraising project.

“This project was a huge undertaking and we are so proud of our staff’s efforts.  The car came out just beautiful.  We will sell out these raffle tickets pretty quickly so get ‘em while you can,” noted Mars.

“I have never worked for a body shop that gives back so much to the community,” said Audie Kirkpatrick, project lead technician. “We’re proud to work at 911 Collision Centers and to be able to contribute our time to a project that will help local kids in our community.”

The Automotive Service Councils of California (ASCCA) and the California/Nevada/Arizona Automotive Wholesalers Association (CAWA) hosted their second annual Automotive Aftermarket Industry Summit on February 26 at the Westin Hotel in San Diego.

CAWA Past Chair Tim Gerrity and ASCCA President Dennis Montalbano facilitated the event, which was a two hour round-table style discussion of issues the aftermarket industry is facing.

“It was very high energy, people were frank and forthright in the discussions,” said CAWA President Rodney Pierini. The meeting had very good turnout with about 85 attendees.

Attendees represented all facets of the aftermarket industry; parts store owners, warehouse distributors, manufacturers, vendors and repair garage owners.

Issues discussed ranged from training to warranties, products to supplier expectations. The group also discussed why the public does not know that the aftermarket industry is a truly green industry.

The Economic & Employment Enforcement Coalition (EEEC)—a government enforcement unit comprised of investigators and inspectors from several state agencies including EDD, Cal OSHA, the Labor Commissioner’s Office and other agencies—was on hand to speak to the membership at the East Bay California Autobody Association (CAA) membership on March 8 in Dublin, Calif.

Of concern to many members in attendance was “how can body shops avoid expensive fines levied on their businesses by a wide range of government watchdog organizations?”

Seemingly simple things like not posting safety posters, minor errors on payroll bookkeeping or forgetting to offer your employees 15-minute breaks during peak times can all lead to citations which can seriously interrupt or even halt operations at collision facilities throughout the state.

Deputy Labor Commissioner Kevin O’Connor, OSHA Senior Safety Engineer Eric Berg, and EDD Joint Enforcement Agent Archana Mathur gave separate presentations to the 70 East Bay CAA members on hand.