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Monday, 04 October 2010 18:12

California Bill to Require Brake Pad Reformulation Signed by Schwarzenegger

The California Automotive Wholesalers’ Association (CAWA) and the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) announced September 30 that SB 346 (Kehoe) has been signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

SB 346 was introduced into the California Legislature by Sen. Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) in early 2009. At that time the bill sought to limit copper content in brake friction materials and also required at least a $1.00 fee on each axle pad set sold which would be collected by retailers and installers with no guarantee that the fee would not increase. The bill also sought to impose penalties for non compliance upwards of $10,000 per violation. The bill as originally drafted would have banned copper in brake pads without a rational framework for reformulation potentially jeopardizing the safety of the motoring public.

Since that time, negotiations with stakeholders and Senator Kehoe’s office have concluded fruitfully on the bill which resulted in successfully addressing industry’s key concerns and subsequent removal of industry opposition.

Key among CAWA and AAIA concerns was the removal of the brake pad fee and retailer and installer collection points.

“CAWA and AAIA worked with an industry wide coalition that included the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA), both domestic and international vehicle manufacturer alliances, friction material manufacturers, the retailers’ association and the repair industry,” says Rodney K. Pierini, CAWA president and CEO. “The resulting bill was the result of a strong commitment by the environmental community water agencies, vehicle manufacturers and the aftermarket to work through our differences and develop a workable process for reducing copper in brake pads that ensures consumer safety and minimizes the economic impact on small businesses.”

The amended legislation which is supported by all industry groups, now requires a two-step reduction in friction material copper content to no more than five percent after 2021 and no more than five tenths of one percent after 2025; exempts friction materials for use on vehicles manufactured prior to the above compliance dates- otherwise known as a legacy vehicle exemption; creates an advisory board to review applications for and a process to follow for vehicles manufactured after the compliance dates that will not be able to meet the deadlines- otherwise referred to as an “offramp;” and gives regulators discretion in the enforcement of the bill’s provisions if there is evidence that any violation was inadvertent, according to information from CAWA. The only fee in the bill now is for vehicle manufacturers who may need to participate in the offramp review process.

“We are pleased that our industry issues were resolved in a collaborative and collegial way that allows the aftermarket a rational pathway to compliance,” states Aaron Lowe, vice president, government affairs for AAIA. “While challenges lie ahead for the aftermarket in meeting the aggressive goals established in this bill; we are committed to moving forward in reducing copper in brake pads and urge the governor to sign this legislation when it reaches his desk."

For more information about CAWA, visit For more information visit about AAIA, visit

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