The Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade advanced a bill today that peels back 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."
According to the National Automobile Dealers Association, this pamphlet compares differences in insurance costs among vehicles on the basis of damage susceptibility. The association notes that this publication is rarely used and is not useful. Harper echoed this sentiment.
"A recent survey confirmed what was expected: out of 800 new car dealers polled, an overwhelming 96 percent of the respondents answered that not a single customer had ever asked to see the booklet," said Harper, a second-term member who serves on the subcommittee. "While this information is of value to insurance actuaries, it has been little to no use for consumers, for whom it is primarily intended."
Transportation Department officials have distributed the publication since 1991, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past 21 years. Last year, the Obama administration issued a document that 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.
The NHTSA will maintain the authority to publish this data on its website.
"This simple and bipartisan bill, if passed, would show that Congress is serious about efforts to alleviate burdensome and unneeded regulations on businesses across the country," added Harper. "The president states that it is a priority of his administration to identify and eliminate costly, outdated and unneeded regulations; I say Congress should lead now with H.R. 5859."
The subcommittee unanimously reported H.R. 5859, which now moves to the full House Energy and Commerce Committee for further consideration.