House Clears Harper-Owens Deregulation Bill

Press Release

By:  Bill Owens Gregg Harper
Date: July 23, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill today that removes an obsolete federal mandate requiring the distribution of a booklet reporting motor vehicle insurance costs.

The bipartisan legislation, introduced by U.S. Reps. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) and Bill Owens (D-N.Y.), eliminates the mandatory printing of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) annual booklet entitled, "Relative Collision Insurance Cost Information."

The National Automobile Dealers Association says that this pamphlet compares differences in insurance costs among vehicles on the basis of damage susceptibility. However, the organization acknowledges that this publication is rarely used and is not useful. The bill's authors echoed this opinion.

"While this information is of value to insurance actuaries, it has been little to no use for consumers, for whom it is primarily intended," said Harper.

"I am pleased this legislation passed the House today," added Owens. "One of my top priorities is to reduce burdensome regulations on local small business owners so they can continue to provide good paying jobs to the community. This bipartisan bill will clear the books of an obsolete and outdated regulation and save taxpayer dollars in the process, and I urge the Senate to provide swift passage to the legislation."

Transportation Department officials have distributed the publication since 1991, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past 21 years. The Obama administration's vehicle safety technical assistance document sent to Congress in 2011 prior to consideration of transportation reauthorization proposed repealing this requirement.

"A prospective buyer does not need a brochure from the federal government to obtain this information, since insurance agents are trained to provide advice on how model selection affects insurance premiums," the White House wrote.

While the mandatory printing regulation would be eliminated, the NHTSA will maintain authority to publish this data on its website.

"This simple and bipartisan bill is proof of Congress' efforts to alleviate burdensome and unneeded regulations on businesses across the country," the lawmakers continued. "This bill is another step in peeling back outdated and unnecessary rules that businesses must deal with on a daily basis."

H.R. 5859 passed the House by voice vote and will be transmitted to the Senate for consideration by the chamber.