Publisher's Statement - May 2019

Consumers, lawmakers need to be informed on safety measures

Consumer safety and shop liability have had their fair share of headlines lately, and the temperature is being turned up on the industry and policymakers to address the concerns legislatively.

According to a recent ASA-sponsored webinar that featured representatives from ASA, Auto Care Association, Tire Industry Association and the Society of Collision Repair Specialists, there’s plenty of work to be done.

Against the backdrop of recent lawsuits against collision repairers who fail to follow OEM repair procedures, is heightened awareness for shops to be vigilant in protecting consumer welfare, as well as themselves through procedural adherence.

From state to state, insurance regulators lack an understanding of the role OEM procedures play in consumer safety and proper repairs, according to Bob Redding Jr., ASA Washington D.C. representative.

They often cite a lack of statutory law that addresses or mandates OEM-recommended repair procedures are to be followed.

Aaron Schulenburg, executive director of SCRS, was spot-on when he declared consumers deserve support from their elected officials to ensure a complete and safe repair, which requires statutes for government controls so that repairs can be performed in accordance with manufacturer specifications, and claim settlements can be settled in accordance to those specifications.

The industry’s interest in OEM repair procedures isn’t a new phenomenon, but it has gained increased attention in recent years, especially as vehicles become more technologically advanced, much of it safety-related. The insurance industry has been instrumental in pushing for the technology, such as auto-braking in new model vehicles.

However, many shops are challenged when they want to perform a proper repair but are sometimes prevented from doing so by claim settlement practices. It impacts shops and consumers on a daily basis, and will do so more as the pace of technology increases.


State vehicle inspections

State vehicle safety inspection programs have dwindled over the years as they have been attacked in state legislatures, largely from ignorance and misinformation. Not good.

Statistically, many accidents can be attributed to failing tires.

“If a car isn’t adequately serviced or repaired, then everyone’s safety on the road is affected,” said Roy Littlefield, TIA.

Parts & People couldn’t agree more.

Every vehicle should meet a minimum standard, and that’s why state inspection programs are vitally important. A recent independent study by the University of Texas at Austin revealed that crash costs related to vehicles with defects — which would have been identified through an inspection — are more than $2 billion annually.

More outreach is needed to inform the public and lawmakers.

It’s time to get to work.


Parts & People

Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.