Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (CA-45), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, today championed legislation to repeal an outdated and expensive regulation which burdens America's nearly 20,000 automobile dealers, but provides almost no benefit to consumers. The five leading automotive trade associations in the United States -- including the National Automobile Dealers Association -- all support H.R. 5859, which was approved by the House unanimously after being brought to the floor for a vote by Congresswoman Bono Mack.
After today's bipartisan victory, Bono Mack released the following statement:
"For nearly 20 years, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has required new car dealers to make available to buyers a booklet containing the latest information on insurance costs. But here's the problem: The information is rarely sought by consumers and its value is highly questionable. Insurance premiums are based primarily on factors that are unrelated to the susceptibility of damage to a vehicle, including the driver's age, driving record, location, and miles driven.
"Additionally, a recent survey of 815 members of the National Automobile Dealers Association reported 96 percent of its dealers had never been asked by a customer -- not even once -- to see the insurance cost booklet that's at issue here today. Clearly, this is yet another example of where the cost of a federal regulation outweighs its potential benefit. As a nation, we simply can't keep doing business this way.
"As it stands now, new car dealers face civil penalties if they do not provide, upon request, the booklet that discloses the relative cost to repair vehicles after a collision. Yet the data is completely generic and skewed by averaging the repair costs of everything from fender-benders to vehicle rollovers. How is this useful information to consumers at the point of sale? Even more troubling, this information is not always accurate or up-to-date. For the most part, it is simply a compilation of historical information and does not take into account new model year changes that can significantly alter how a car performs in a crash. In other words, the requirement is simply not working as intended and has become a needless cost and burden to automobile dealers nationwide.
"Today, the House voted to tow this "clunker' of a regulation to the junk yard where it belongs and to provide America's nearly 20,000 automobile dealers with some important regulatory relief."