Oklahoma Senate Bill 1051, which would have required an insurer to disclose to the consumer, in writing, if an aftermarket emission, safety or crash part is to be used in a repair and also obtain written consent from car owners, was pulled from consideration on Feb. 13 by Dan Newberry, chairman of the Oklahoma Senate Business and Commerce Committee.
Aftermarket industry members began lobbying almost immediately after the introduction of the bill on Jan. 17. The bill had been scheduled for a Feb. 14 hearing.
The grassroots lobbying effort was led by Remy International and LKQ, with strong support from NAPA and O’Reilly. The Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association states that early information gathering played a key role in the group’s ability to develop the lobbying strategy that led to the bill being pulled.
Newberry had indicated in early meetings that he wanted the bill to be heard by the full committee, but acknowledged that the aftermarket industry had delivered a powerful message that led to his decision. It is not yet known whether the House will take up the bill.
Gary Wano, owner of G.W. and Son Auto Body Inc., in Oklahoma City, expressed disappointment over the bill’s demise.
"The aftermarket lobby most assuredly created a fear factor of ‘increased insurance premiums,’ ‘total losses’ and outright non-repairability of early model autos," Wano said. "The Oklahoma Auto Body Association sent information that may have confused the issue significantly. Without the proper lobbying representation, we sent a great deal of information that has been shared in CIC over the years surrounding the questions about the ‘crashworthiness’ of aftermarket body parts. We proposed that installing multiple aftermarket crash parts could disrupt the timing of the deployment of the passive restraint systems, hence causing injury or fatality to the unsuspecting motoring public. We asked the Senate committee to consider the CIC materials and broaden their description of ‘safety-related parts’ to include bumper reinforcement bars, radiator supports, fenders and hoods.
"I don’t know that we helped the cause through our ‘crash course’ on impact placement and passive restraint timing, or did we shoot ourselves in the foot by requesting the Senate committee to consider this additional information? The repairers in Oklahoma maybe should have simply rallied in support of the ‘consumer consent bill’ passing as written, and then once passed, contacted our legislators to propose changes to the bill in next year’s session.
"We lost a major battle here, and it’s very disheartening. But you can bet if we can get it reintroduced, we’ll be better prepared."