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The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) is taking aim at mobile collision repair providers, who currently aren’t regulated under state law. AASP/NJ Executive Director Charles Bryant has been working with the new New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJ-MVC) Chief Administrator Raymond Martinez as well as state legislators on what the association says is a growing problem in the state.
Bryant recently attended the signing in of the new NJ-MVC chief administrator in Trenton.
"During the period of time that the past NJ-MVC Chief Sharon Harrington left the NJ-MVC and the time that the new chief administrator was sworn in, the NJ-MVC had taken a position that mobile auto body shops are not regulated under the current New Jersey Auto Body License Law," Bryant says. "This is a position that AASP/NJ strongly disagrees with.
"From the start, we have taken the position that mobile shops are already regulated under the current New Jersey Auto Body License Law because of the provision in the law that says an applicant for an auto body license must have a building suitable for the conduct of all operations within the building, and a Certificate of Occupancy for an auto body repair facility issued by the applicable zoning authority. Although the NJ-MVC has the authority to create additional types of licenses, such as heavy duty truck endorsement and motorcycles, we feel strongly that the NJ-MVC must stay within the scope of what the legislature has already laid out that all work must be performed within a building in an area that is properly zoned for auto body work."
The NJ-MVC position also included a plan to regulate mobile body shops in the near future. After meeting with Martinez, Bryant says he’s very optimistic that position can be changed.
"We had a good meeting, and we discussed the history of mobile shops and how they create an unfair playing field for repair shops," Bryant says. "I think Chief Martinez was extremely willing to learn more about the issue and how much of an unfair playing field it would create for an already heavily regulated industry."
While AASP/NJ anticipates another meeting with Martinez, the association is working with lobbyist Monica Walsh to set up meetings with state legislators and "keep the pressure on," the association says.
"This is an issue that is far-reaching," Bryant says. "It is an issue that not only impacts our industry, but the environment as well. We are in a ‘Go Green’ culture right now, and mobile shops are the antithesis of that. We need to continue to educate the MVC, the legislators and the public until everyone grasps the immediacy of the problem and acts to solve it."