Jeff Silver, GAO Report and NHTSA, Avery v State Farm, EPA at CIC

Jeff Silver, GAO Report and NHTSA, Avery v State Farm, EPA at CIC

20 years ago in the collision repair industry (March 1996)

The name Jeff Silver is synonymous with I-CAR. As executive vice president, Jeff has spent the last 11 years of his life helping to build I-CAR into the premier technical training organization in the collision repair industry. On his watch, Jeff has guided I-CAR into the international arena, forming coalitions with groups in Canada and New Zealand and opening talks with groups in the Far East. He recently decided to leave I-CAR and start his own collision repair business, but will remain with I-CAR for six months to help make his successor’s transition as smooth as possible. Jeff leaves big shoes to fill. He has done much to improve the collision repair industry, and we wish him well.

– From a March 1996 editorial in Auto Body Repair News (ABRN) by Tony Molla, at that time the editor-in-chief of the magazine. Molla later spent 15 years with ASE, and last year became vice president on the Automotive Service Association national staff. Silver continues to operate his collision repair business, now a CARSTAR franchise in Mundelein, Ill., with his wife Jeanne. This past November, he received the I-CAR Chairman’s Award, recognizing his decades of support for that organization.

15 years ago in the collision repair industry (March 2001)

A report published by the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) was a mixed bag for those hoping for more government oversight of non-OEM crash parts. While the report indicates that some non-OEM parts are “clearly different from their OEM counterparts,” it also said limited testing leaves it unclear whether such parts pose significant safety concerns.

“Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has the authority to regulate aftermarket crash parts, it has not determined that these parts pose a significant safety concern and therefore has not developed safety standards for them,” the report states.

The report also says that NHTSA should have an oversight program to detect defects in non-OEM parts, but that “NHTSA’s ability to identify and recall unsafe aftermarket parts is limited” by its “database [which] hampers it from identifying trends in defects.”

The report clearly states, however, that the GAO “saw aftermarket crash parts that were clearly different from their OEM counterparts.”

“Obviously there is a need for NHTSA to gather significantly more information in order to look at the safety implications of these crash parts,” Congressman John Tierney (D.-Mass.), said of the study.

– As reported in The Golden Eagle. It’s unclear if NHTSA took further actions on the non-OEM parts issue, but the manufacturers, distributors and certifiers of non-OEM crash parts has subsequently stepped up tracking and other systems to assist in the recall of a non-OEM part, should one be deemed necessary.

10 years ago in the collision repair industry (March 2006)

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected the plaintiffs’ request to hear Avery v. State Farm. Michael Avery and the other plaintiffs filed a petition for the court to hear the case on the basis that Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier should not have participated in the decision since State Farm contributed to his election campaign. The U.S. Supreme Court said nothing about why it decided not to review the case.

– As reported in CRASH Network (, March 12, 2006. In 1999, a court ruled in favor of Avery and other consumers in a class action lawsuit against State Farm over its use of non-OEM parts, awarding them more than $1 billion. In 2005, the Illinois Supreme Court overturned that verdict. Though a decade has past since that Illinois Supreme Court ruling, the decision is still making headlines. In 2011, Avery's lawyers petitioned the court to reconsider its Avery ruling given what they said was new evidence of the degree to which State Farm was involved in the 2004 election of Justice Karmeier to Illinois’ top court. Within a year of his election, Karmeier was among the Justices on the Court that voted to overturn the $1 billion judgment against State Farm. A lawsuit over that issue continues.

5 years ago in the collision repair industry (March 2011)

An Environmental Protection Agency official, speaking at this month’s Collision Industry Conference (CIC), said that even though the deadline has passed for shops to comply with new federal refinish and paint stripping regulations (sometimes referred to as 6-H or NESHAP), any business that has not complied should not avoid doing so.

“Some folks think if they hang back and don’t submit the paperwork that somehow EPA isn’t going to know about them,” Deborah Craig, an EPA compliance officer said. “They don’t want to shine a light on themselves by submitting something late. Our recommendation is that you just move forward as quickly as possibly to come into compliance. Give the regional EPA folks a call. Ask for help in filling out the forms. Talk to folks in your trade group for assistance. A lot of the paint suppliers have really been offering such excellent customer service by helping you comply.”

– As reported in CRASH Network (, March 28, 2011. The federal air quality regulation imposed a number of requirements on body shops, including mandatory training related to the regulation for painters every five years at a minimum. So painters that underwent that training five years ago as the regulation went into effect – but who haven’t gone through the training again since that time – are due to take it again this year. More information is available on the EPA website (

John Yoswick

John Yoswick is a freelance writer and Autobody News columnist who has been covering the collision industry since 1988, and the editor of the CRASH Network... Read More

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