U.S. Reps. Bill Owens (D--N.Y.) and Gregg Harper (R--Miss.) introduced legislation this week that would roll back an outdated statutory requirement for the Department of Transportation (DOT). Current law mandates that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) mail an obsolete booklet of vehicle information to local auto dealers who are then required to make that information available to prospective new vehicle customers upon request.
According to the auto dealer industry, this information is rarely -- if ever -- requested at most auto dealerships. Instead, the requirement serves only to impose a cost to taxpayers and an additional burden on small businesses.
"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" Owens said. "This bipartisan bill will clear the books of an obsolete and outdated regulation and save taxpayer dollars in the process."
"I am honored to co-introduce legislation that reduces federal spending and eliminates burdensome government regulations," added Harper. "This bill is another step in peeling back outdated and unnecessary rules that businesses must deal with on a daily basis."
Since 1991, DOT has been annually distributing by mail a document entitled, "Relative Collision Insurance Cost Information." This information is sent to new vehicle dealers who are required to make the information available to prospective new vehicle customers upon request.
While the booklet is of value to insurance actuaries, it is of little use to consumers in the showroom. For the past 21 years, the NHTSA has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to distribute a booklet containing largely irrelevant information to every new vehicle dealership in America that, unsurprisingly, few people have ever requested. A recent poll of auto dealers revealed that 96 percent of those surveyed said no customer had ever asked to see the booklet.
The Owens-Harper legislation would eliminate this printing and distribution mandate.