Repeal of Provision Relating to Motor Vehicle Insurance Cost Reporting

Floor Speech

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

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Mr. OWENS. I thank my colleague.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to join Mr. Harper as an original cosponsor to offer legislation to repeal an outdated mandate on auto dealerships across the country.

Under current rules, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is required to distribute a hard copy information booklet on vehicle insurance costs to auto dealers. In addition, those auto dealers are then required to keep the booklet on hand and make it available to prospective customers.

Before coming to Congress, I had the opportunity to represent Bill McBride and Gerry Garrand, two auto dealers located in Plattsburgh, New York. Working alongside the McBride and Garrand teams helped me better understand the automobile retail market and the pressure dealers are under to remain competitive. Today, we have a chance to remove a regulation, which we can all agree is outdated, for the benefit of taxpayers and businesses like those in my congressional district. I believe actions like this make common sense, and I urge more of it.

Over the past 21 years, NHTSA has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars distributing this information, much of which is unnecessary for an average customer who is trying to make an informed decision in the showroom. Recent surveys show that few, if any, customers ask for this information in a given year. In fact, as much as 96 percent of auto dealers have never once been asked for this information at all.

Putting information in the hands of consumers is sensible. For the average American family, buying a car is a major expense. Most people will consider price, safety ratings, and other features, and will compare a number of makes and models before making a purchase. However, the data show that few American families make NHTSA's Relative Collision Insurance Cost Information booklet a part of that decision-making process.

With that in mind, our legislation simply ensures that auto dealers will no longer be required to make this unused information available to their customers at taxpayer expense. At the same time, the bill allows NHTSA and the Highway Loss Data Institute complete flexibility to make this information available online, which HLDI has said it will do. This is an example of the commonsense bipartisanship we need to see more of, working together to reduce outdated, unnecessary or overly burdensome regulations to thebenefit of businesses, families, and taxpayers at large.

I thank Mr. Harper for his leadership on this issue and for working with me to get this done for auto dealers across the country. Moreover, I am pleased to have had the opportunity to have worked with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle in order to help make government work better. I urge a ``yes'' vote on this legislation.

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