In a classic David versus Goliath legislative struggle, collision repairers in the state of Wyoming have said no to legislation historically promoted by some insurers, parts certification advocates and others. The legislation, SF0095, passed the Wyoming State Senate and was sent to the Wyoming House of Representatives for consideration.
The bill is sponsored by state Senator Tara Nethercott.
The Senate summarizes the legislation as follows: AN ACT relating to insurance; providing standards for the use of aftermarket parts in automobile damage repairs; requiring disclosure when any use is proposed of a non-original manufacturer part; requiring that all aftermarket parts be identified and be of the same quality as the original part; and providing for an effective date.
The bill language is similar to that proposed in other states and considered numerous times by the National Council of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL). The legislation was introduced in mid-January and passed the Senate in just a few weeks. This did not give stakeholders enough time to mobilize and communicate with their policymakers. The Automotive Service Association (ASA) has opposed this model legislation for a number of years. Specific concerns for collision repairers include the following points:
- Who is to determine that parts meet original equipment manufacturer (OEM) standards?
- What state agency is equipped to evaluate certification standards?
- How does this protect the consumer?
In letters to legislators, collision repairers stated: SF0095 encourages the use of aftermarket crash parts without addressing significant issues that could impact a quality, safe vehicle repair after an accident…A cheap, quick vehicle repair does not assure quality or safety for the motoring public. This bill is harmful to Wyoming small businesses and consumers.
A competitive marketplace benefits collision repairers and consumers but the facts need to be dependable. Certification relative to parts is critically important. It’s a task that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has avoided as it relates to aftermarket crash parts. With this said, what state has the resources to define certification and assure that the appropriate standards are met?
Any discussion about automotive crash parts invokes an examination of quality issues. More importantly, what has been the policy dialogue about vehicle safety as impacted by SF0095? Legislation with such critical safety implications deserves more than two weeks of policy debate. Legislation this important should look first to stakeholders, small businesses and consumers, for input about these issues. One important question to consider is whether state regulators have defined a problem significant enough to warrant this particular legislation.
Fortunately, Wyoming’s collision repair community and industry partners joined together to help educate members of the Wyoming House of Representatives about SF0095 and the importance of these policy issues to consumers and small businesses in Wyoming. Collision repairers communicated their concerns to members of the Wyoming legislature – and it appears the Wyoming House of Representatives won’t be moving forward this session with SF0095. The Wyoming legislature is scheduled to adjourn at the end of the month.
Clearly this time-consuming exercise was burdensome to collision shop owners, but it did give them an opportunity to reach out to policymakers and help educate them about the collision repair industry. There is a remedial understanding of collision repair, at best, among policymakers. This is an example of a crisis that also presented an opportunity. In addition, this demonstrates that small businesses speaking with one voice can make a difference even in a brief amount of time.
Legislation like SF0095 can certainly reappear in the future, but repairers will be more prepared to address their concerns at the State Capitol. Whether parts legislation removes consumer protections, eliminates notice and consent or puts collision shops at risk, policymakers should include stakeholders, consumers and repairers, in the conversation. Wyoming SF0095 is just one example of legislation that is harmful to the collision industry. Repairers joining together, with one voice, can make a difference.