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Wednesday, 12 May 2010 21:46

Congresswoman Jackie Speier Wields Reciprocating Saw on Structural Parts

Earlier this month Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) launched her own exploration of the structural differences between certain vehicle safety parts by sawing through an aftermarket reinforcement bar in her San Mateo district office. The reciprocating saw she used didn’t dent the bar from the vehicle manufacturer.

Speier, author of California’s anti-steering law, stated,  “I’m concerned that vehicle owners who’ve been in an accident are unaware that replacing a reinforcement bar with one not designed by the manufacturer may compromise the safety of vehicle occupants in a subsequent collision. Airbag deployment can be thrown off by a reinforcement bar that doesn’t absorb shock in the way intended by the vehicle manufacturer.”

Speier conducted the test with the help of two collision industry experts: Lee Amaradio, president of the Collision Repair Association of California and Allen Wood, the association’s executive director.

Amaradio stated, “The congresswoman has always taken time to hear our industry’s concerns. The issue of aftermarket safety parts is of national importance. Hundreds of thousands of vehicle owners are driving around in repaired cars that won’t withstand a collision the way the manufacturer intended.”

Speier said that the use of vehicle safety aftermarket parts have been pushed by certain insurers that apparently want to save money without regard for passenger safety. “I am opposed to reengineering a vehicle through the claims process,” she said. “Parts such as reinforcement bars that affect the vehicle safety restraint system should not be replaced by parts of inferior quality.”

She said she would be contacting the appropriate regulators to determine what is being done to inform consumers about the installation of aftermarket safety parts. She said she was also concerned about reports that many inferior aftermarket parts are made overseas and shipped to the United States without adequate manufacturer information stamped on the parts, as required by California law.

“My first step will be to assess how well California and federal laws covering vehicle repair, including insurance benefits for collision work, are being enforced,” stated Speier. “Additionally, I want to determine the extent to which unsafe parts made overseas are finding their way into shops in this country.”


Speier invited interested parties to contact her district director, Richard Steffen, at 650-342-0300;; if they have information they wish to share with her on the prevalence of unsafe vehicle parts in the collision repair business.

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