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Give some thoughtful people who are knowledgeable about the collision repair industry a chance to shine up a crystal ball and look into the future, and you're likely to hear some interesting things. 

During the 1980s and 1990s, association and seminar leaders frequently pointed to changes in vehicle technology that were putting a dent in the collision repair market. Daytime running lights, the third brake light and anti-lock braking systems (if drivers used them properly), they'd say, were among the key factors pulling accident frequency down. 

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company will replace existing Select Service and Service First® programs in designated market with its newly revamped Select Service program, recently tested in markets in California, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. Select Service, an auto damage repair program currently in a limited number of locations, was introduced by State Farm in 2001. 

U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate negotiators agreed to renew the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act (S.250) for another six years. Despite President George W. Bush's proposal to leave the program unfunded in his next two fiscal year budget proposals, House and Senate conferees agreed to renew the Perkins Act. 

The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs has been holding hearings to discuss legislation introduced by Senators Tim Johnson (D-S.D), and John Sununu (R-N.H). The legislation could impact who regulates the insurance industry, which is currently controlled by the states. 

One of the ways some shops are coping with what they are finding is decreasing profits in collision repair work is adding services beyond body work: mechanical work, detailing, and spray-on bed liners.