Friday, 26 August 2016 17:26

CAA Board of Directors Kicks Off Important Role at 2016 NACE

The California Autobody Association (CAA) had a hectic schedule at this year's NACE | CARS Conference and Exposition as the organization held its quarterly Board of Directors meeting and hosted two key presentations on August 11 and 12.

By bringing in a panel of top speakers from the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) along with California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones for well-attended presentations, body shops from San Diego to San Francisco flocked to see both events.

The CAA took the main stage at NACE | CARS in Anaheim and the organization came through with flying colors, according to Dan Risley, ASA president and executive director. "Many of the issues that California deals with can impact the rest of the country," he said. "The CAA programs offered during the show were of interest to California businesses, but for shop owners from around the country as well."

To get a glimpse into how an organization such as CAA operates and performs its role in California, ABN sat in on their third-quarter Board of Directors meeting on August 11. Board Members Don Feeley, Ted Stein, Kathy Mello, Tim Brown and Mike Passof were in attendance, while CAA executive director David McClune chaired the meeting.

CAA President Ted Stein was pleased to see that NACE had once again put out the red carpet for the organization with the Board of Directors meeting and two other presentations.

"NACE has always been very welcoming and all of us at CAA are grateful," Stein said. "Even back in the old days when NACE was in Vegas, they've been supportive of the organization and what we do. The educational series at this year's NACE was exceptional and it was great catching up with old friends and colleagues, so I can safely say that the show was a success for all of us here at the CAA."

After dealing with CAA business, discussing financials and other pertinent issues, Jack Molodanof of Molodanof Government Relations--who represent the CAA--gave his annual state legislative bill report to the CAA Board members and the other chapter leaders and members in attendance.

Molodanof outlined five bills that can potentially impact the collision industry in California in significant ways. All of these can affect body shops and collision repairers who also do mechanical repair, and that's why Molodanof reported on these and many other bills to the CAA Board at NACE.

Here are brief summaries of the five bills, with input from Molodanof:

Vehicles: Towed Vehicles: CA AB 2167--Achadjian [R]

Last year’s AB 1222 created new requirements for towing operators to address the problem of “bandit tows,” in which vehicles are towed without the consent of owners. Also included were requirements for businesses that accept vehicles from tow operators to obtain information including the tow truck driver's license number. This new requirement created problems, including the tow truck drivers' refusal to provide their driver’s licenses due to privacy issues.

"This bill is in the Senate right now and we support it," Molodanof said. "If it passes, if will provide relief by allowing shops to accept a government authorized unique identifier or motor club driver’s identification number. This way, they don't have to present their driver's licenses as identification, which was an identity theft protection issue for the drivers. This bill protects shops, tow companies and consumers alike, because it documents the transaction and provides full accountability."

Vehicle Equipment: Nonfunctional Airbags: CA AB 2387--Mullin [D]

This bill makes it a misdemeanor for any person to manufacture, import, install, reinstall, distribute or sell any device intended to replace a supplemental restraint system component in any motor vehicle if the device is such counterfeit component or a nonfunctional airbag, or does not meet specified federal safety requirements.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported in 2015 that more and more counterfeit airbags have been discovered as replacement parts in vehicles that have been involved in crashes. While these airbags look nearly identical to certified, original equipment parts, including the insignia and branding of major automakers, the NHTSA's tests showed consistent malfunctioning ranging from non-deployment of the air bag to the expulsion of metal shrapnel during deployment. Although the organization is not aware of any deaths or injuries connected to counterfeit air bags, the NHTSA is encouraging states to pass bills such as CA AB 2387.

Automotive Repair: Oil Changes: Notification: CA SB 778--Allen [D]

This bill provides for the registration and regulation of unlicensed oil change businesses in the state. It also requires that if a shop recommends a date or mileage oil drain interval, then the shop must follow the vehicle manufacturer published schedules. If the shop recommends a date or mileage oil drain interval that deviates from the vehicle's intervals, then the shop must note the basis on the invoice. Nothing in the bill prohibits the customer from selecting oil drain interval of their choice. Finally, the shop shall include the following disclosure language on the invoice or attachment to invoice.

“It is important to change your oil at proper intervals," Molodanof said. "Your vehicle manufacturer publishes oil change intervals in your owner’s manual and on the OE's website. The CAA was opposed to the original version of the bill which required shops to provide customers with the manufacturers' oil drain interval recommendations, but with the amendments the CAA is now neutral on this bill."

Automotive Repair: CA AB 873--Jones [R]

This bill amends the Automotive Repair Act. It recasts the definition of "repair of motor vehicles" to delete the listing of various types of excluded minor services, such as companies that repair and change tires; oil change/lube companies and companies that either service, repair or replace items like light bulbs, windshield wipers, fan belts and oil filters, for example. It also recasts the definition of "automotive technician" to delete these references. It deletes provisions describing work to be performed by an automotive technician and includes the services performed by a certain tow truck operator in the definition of roadside services.

"Under current law, the BAR does not have the authority over businesses performing what are known as minor services," Molodanof said. "If this bill passes, BAR will promulgate regulations and determine which types of businesses will be under BAR authority, which we definitely support. These businesses were specifically exempted from the Automotive Repair Act back in the early 1970s, but the vehicles they are working on now are so much more sophisticated that we think BAR oversight is needed."

The Lead Acid Battery Recycling Act: CA AB 2153--Garcia (D)

Introduced in February and amended in August, this bill establishes the Used Lead Acid Battery Recycling Act. It will require the acceptance of lead acid batteries and prohibits a dealer from charging certain fees, as well as the collection of a refundable deposit for batteries purchased without the trade-in of a used battery. Additionally, it provides for a refund of the deposit with a battery trade in within a specified time period.

"Our position is to oppose it, unless amended," Molodanof said. "This bill is a direct response related to the 2013 series of events at the Exide Technologies battery plant that contaminated an estimated 10,000 homes in southern California with hazardous waste derived from batteries. This bill will mandate a $1 fee for each such battery sold for placement into the Lead Acid Battery Cleanup Fund."