December 27th, 2012
CAA Hosts Event for Insurance Commissioner
On December 17th, the California Autobody Association (“CAA) hosted an event in Sacramento for Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.
This event was an opportunity for some CAA members in the area to have an opportunity to meet the Commissioner and discuss the collision industry. Two of CAA’s board members (l-r), Mike Passof, VP, and Dave Picton, President, were able to discuss with Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones some of the issues that our industry is currently dealing with.
The CAA and its PAC, CARPAC, is hoping to arrange other events in the coming year.
December 18th, 2012
Quality Body Work, Paint and Refinishing by Skilled G&R Body & Paint Technicians Will Make Your Vehicle a Classic
What’s more thrilling than cruising down the highway in a beautifully refinished car or truck, repainted and gleaming in the sun, looking like new?
That experience is why you bought your classic car or truck, so it’s time to find the right collector car refinishing and restoration expert. But where can you find a place that will repair and refinish your favorite car and truck with the care you demand – and do it right the first time?
G&R Body & Paint has earned its reputation as one of the top auto body and painting shops in the Sacramento area because we love cars and the customers who own them. We’ve repaired and finished thousands of vehicles since 1969; more than a few of them have been a classic car or truck just like yours.
G&R Body & Paint doesn’t do complete auto restorations. There are many reputable restoration specialists in the Sacramento area who will rebuild your classic car’s engine or restore the interior upholstery.
We concentrate on what we do best – providing the finest precision body work, refinishing and auto paint services you’ll find anywhere.
Contact G & R Body & Paint today to get the finest body work, refinishing and paint services in Sacramento today.
PH: 916-731-8203 4220 Stockton Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95820
December 12th, 2012
WASHINGTON — Many motorists don’t know it, but it’s likely that every time they get behind the wheel, there’s a snitch along for the ride.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Friday proposed long-delayed regulations requiring auto manufacturers to include event data recorders – better known as “black boxes” – in all new cars and light trucks beginning Sept. 1, 2014. But the agency is behind the curve. Automakers have been quietly tucking the devices, which automatically record the actions of drivers and the responses of their vehicles in a continuous information loop, into most new cars for years.
When a car is involved in a crash or when its airbags deploy, inputs from the vehicle’s sensors during the 5 to 10 seconds before impact are automatically preserved. That’s usually enough to record things like how fast the car was traveling and whether the driver applied the brake, was steering erratically or had a seat belt on.
The idea is to gather information that can help investigators determine the causes of accidents and lead to safer vehicles. But privacy advocates say government regulators and automakers are spreading an intrusive technology without first putting in place policies to prevent misuse of the information collected.
Data collected by the recorders is increasingly showing up in lawsuits, criminal cases and high-profile accidents. Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray initially said that he wasn’t speeding and that he was wearing his seat belt when he crashed a government-owned car last year. But the Ford Crown Victoria’s data recorder told a different story: It showed the car was traveling more than 100 mph and Murray wasn’t belted in.
In 2007, then-New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine was seriously injured in the crash of an SUV driven by a state trooper. Corzine was a passenger. The SUV’s recorder showed the vehicle was traveling 91 mph on a parkway where the speed limit was 65 mph, and Corzine didn’t have his seat belt on.
There’s no opt-out. It’s extremely difficult for car owners to disable the recorders. Although some vehicle models have had recorders since the early 1990s, a federal requirement that automakers disclose their existence in owner’s manuals didn’t go into effect until three months ago. Automakers that voluntarily put recorders in vehicles are also now required to gather a minimum of 15 types of data.
Besides the upcoming proposal to put recorders in all new vehicles, the traffic safety administration is also considering expanding the data requirement to include as many as 30 additional types of data such as whether the vehicle’s electronic stability control was engaged, the driver’s seat position or whether the front-seat passenger was belted in. Some manufacturers already are collecting the information. Engineers have identified more than 80 data points that might be useful.
Privacy complaints have gone unheeded so far. The traffic safety administration says it doesn’t have the authority to impose limits on how the information can be used and other privacy protections. About a dozen states have some law regarding data recorders, but the rest do not.
“Right now we’re in an environment where there are no rules, there are no limits, there are no consequences and there is no transparency,” said Lillie Coney, associate director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a privacy advocacy group. “Most people who are operating a motor vehicle have no idea this technology is integrated into their vehicle.”
Part of the concern is that the increasing computerization of cars and the growing communications to and from vehicles like GPS navigation and General Motors’ OnStar system could lead to unintended uses of recorder data.
“Basically your car is a computer now, so it can record all kinds of information,” said Gloria Bergquist, vice president of the Alliance of Automotive Manufacturers. “It’s a lot of the same issues you have about your computer or your smartphone and whether Google or someone else has access to the data.”
The alliance opposes the government requiring recorders in all vehicles.
Data recorders “help our engineers understand how cars perform in the real world, and we already have put them on over 90 percent of (new) vehicles without any mandate being necessary,” Bergquist said.
Safety advocates, however, say requiring data recorders in all cars is the best way to gather a large enough body of reliable information to enable vehicle designers to make safer automobiles.
“The barn door is already open. It’s a question of whether we use the information that’s already out there,” said Henry Jasny, vice president of Advocates for Highway and Automotive Safety.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that requiring recorders in all new cars “will give us the critical insight and information we need to save more lives.”
“By understanding how drivers respond in a crash and whether key safety systems operate properly, (government safety officials) and automakers can make our vehicles and our roadways even safer,” LaHood said.
The National Transportation Safety Board has been pushing for recorders in all passenger vehicles since the board’s investigation of a 2003 accident in which an elderly driver plowed through an open-air market in Santa Monica, Calif. Ten people were killed and 63 were injured. The driver refused to be interviewed and his 1992 Buick LeSabre didn’t have a recorder. After ruling out other possibilities, investigators ultimately guessed that he had either mistakenly stepped on the gas pedal or had stepped on the gas and the brake pedals at the same time.
When reports of sudden acceleration problems in Toyota vehicles cascaded in 2009 and 2010, recorder data from some of the vehicles contributed to the traffic safety administration’s conclusion that the problem was probably sticky gas pedals and floor mats that could jam them, not defects in electronic throttle control systems.
“Black box,” a term for a device whose workings are obscure, is most widely used to refer to flight data recorders, which continually gather information about an aircraft’s operation during flight. Aircraft recorders, by law, are actually bright orange.
Some automakers began installing the recorders at a time when there were complaints that air bags might be causing deaths and injuries, partly to protect themselves against liability and partly to improve air bag technology. Most recorders are black boxes about the size of a deck of cards with circuit boards inside. After an accident, information is downloaded to a laptop computer using a tool unique to the vehicle’s manufacturer. As electronics in cars have increased, the kinds of data that can be recorded have grown as well. Some more recent recorders are part of the vehicle’s computers rather than a separate device.
Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Mass., has repeatedly introduced legislation to require that automakers design recorders so that they can be disabled by motorists but has been unsuccessful in his efforts.
A transportation bill passed by the Senate earlier this year would have required that all new cars and light trucks have recorders and designated a vehicle’s owner as the owner of the data. The provision was removed during House-Senate negotiations on the measure at the behest of House Republican lawmakers who said they were concerned about privacy.
“Many of us would see it as a slippery slope toward big government and Big Brother knowing what we’re doing and where we are,” Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., who is slated to take over the chairmanship of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in January, said at the time. “Privacy is a big concern for many across America.”
December 4th, 2012
We all know that auto insurance rates vary by zip code. But a new study shows that even within the same zip code, a driver could be paying up to a third more than a driver with the same age and driving record depending on the insurance company.
Car insurance clearinghouse Carinsurance.com looked at average auto insurance rates for a 2012 Honda Accord for every zip code in the U.S. with Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, Nationwide, Progressive and State Farm. The hypothetical driver: a single 40-year-old male who commutes 12 miles to work each day and has a clean record.
In California, the average annual premium across the six carriers was $1,428 (significantly higher than national average of $1,277). However, the least expensive premium averaged a whole 33 percent less, at $960.
This difference exists across the country and is biggest in Ohio, where the least expensive policy was 56 percent below the average, according to Carinsurance.com. Compare insurance rates in your zip code here.
“No two insurance carriers have the same way of calculating rates,” CarInsurance.com managing editor Des Toups said. “In some places the difference between the most expensive and least expensive is thousands of dollars … For people with black marks on their records, the differences would be even greater.”
The hypothetical insurance had policy limits of $100,000 for injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries and $50,000 for property damage in an accident and a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage. The analysis did not consider customer service differences.
Proponents of the proposition, which was sponsored by Mercury Insurance chairman George Joseph, argued that it would increase competition among auto insurance companies and drive down prices for consumers. Opponents said it would allow companies to raise fees up to $1,000 a year for anyone who may have experienced a temporary break in auto insurance coverage (like college students, public transit users and senior citizens).
November 26th, 2012
Employment opportunities for auto body repair technicians is expected to grow considerably.
The major problem is there just aren’t many training facilities teaching the trade. A partnership involving the Central Unified Adult School and those in the industry is working very hard to fill the void.
As long as there are cars on the highway accidents will happen
But those in the auto body repair industry will tell you the technicians who fix crumpled cars are aging and their numbers shrinking.
“We are in great need of younger people coming into our industry,” Ted Ehresman Of Travelers Body & Fender Works said.
With the demise of vocational education in many schools owners and managers of body shops like Ted Ehresman’s saw this looming shortage coming and decided to do something about it. They reached out to Central Unified Adult School.
“And they said we have a need to train students to get into this trade,” Patrick Flattley, director of Central Adult School, said.
The school, insurance companies, local auto body shops and the Fresno Regional Occupational Program formed a partnership and developed a program to train the next generation of auto body repair technicians.
Joe Velasquez owns a body repair shop and also teaches this course. He says there is no other program like it
“It’s not a very long course; it’s about three and a half months,” Velasquez said. “We get your foot in the door,.we get you into a body shop and you have to prove yourself from there.”
Along with the classroom work, students spend two weeks working at Velasquez shop learning the basics. After that they spend six weeks interning at a local auto body shop.
“And it’s a lot of stuff you don’t learn in the books and with hands on you actually learn a lot,” student Reggie Felton said.
Felton is hoping the training and the certificate he gets from this program will help him land a job.
“Most places you have to be certified, there are jobs out there but you’ve got to have the training for them,” he said.
Some students, like Damon Pearson, were hired before he finished the program.
“You have to have a clear mind and be focused on what you want to do and have the drive and will power,” Pearson said.
Damon has been at his job at travelers body works for three years and now he is helping to train others.
“They take these young people under their wing, they train them and get close to them – it works well for both of us,” Pearson said.
The class offered through Central Unified Adult School costs $40, that includes the book and as long as you are a junior in high school you can enroll in the program. They also prepare you for employment with help with a resume and interview techniques.
November 20th, 2012
The National Auto Body Council (NABC) has released its roster of officers that were elected at the organization’s annual meeting, held in conjunction with NACE, on Oct. 10 in New Orleans.
The NABC executive officers for the new year, elected by the new board as proscribed by NABC bylaws, are:
- President: Brandon Devis (Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes)
- Vice President: Elizabeth Stein (Assured Performance Network)
- Secretary: Rick Tuuri (Audatex)
- Treasurer: Fred Iantorno (CIECA)
- Director-at-Large: Nick Notte (Sterling Autobody Centers)
- Immediate Past President: Stacy Bartnik (CARSTAR Automotive)
The NABC also welcomes re-elected board members Michael Quinn (Caliber Collision Centers) and Domenic Brusco (PPG Industries Inc.). Executive officers Rick Tuuri and Nick Notte are re-elected board members, as well.
New board members include Jim Ocampo (DuPont Performance Coatings), Petra Schroeder (DuPont Performance Coatings) and Jon Faris (Enterprise Rent-A-Car).
Departing board members who had previously chosen to not seek reelection include Dwight Howard (APU Solutions), Bill Garoutte (BDGA) and Bruce Cooley (DuPont Performance Coatings); the last-mentioned has been the longest serving board member. Each of these distinguished individuals were recognized during the election and given plaques of appreciation for their service.
NABC committee chairs include:
- Awards: Kent Seavey (Hertz Corporation)
- Distracted Driving: Mark Lovell (Precision Collision Auto Body)
- FREE: Michael Jordan (Manchester Collision Center) and Margaret Keith (Northwest CARSTAR)
- Fundraising: Domenic Brusco (PPG) and David Merrell (PartsTrader)
- In Language: Petra Schroeder (DuPont Performance Coatings)
- Marketing: Craig Camacho (Keenan Auto Body)
- Membership: Nick Notte (Sterling Autobody Centers)
- Recycled Rides Vice-Chair: Jim Ocampo (DuPont Performance Coatings)
- Recycled Rides Vice-Chair and Recycled Rides for Schools: Rick Tuuri (Audatex)
“The makeup of our 2013 board provides a strong thread of continuity and will add momentum to our current initiatives,” said NABC Executive Director Chuck Sulkala. “At the same time, there is an infusion of fresh perspectives that will undoubtedly result in exciting new ideas as we go forward. It’s a nice mix, and we’re looking forward to having a productive year as we endeavor to serve the industry.”
November 13th, 2012
Driving in Snow and Ice
The best advice for driving in bad winter weather is not to drive at all, if you can avoid it.
Don’t go out until the snow plows and sanding trucks have had a chance to do their work, and allow yourself extra time to reach your destination.
If you must drive in snowy conditions, make sure your car is prepared (TIPS), and that you know how to handle road conditions.
It’s helpful to practice winter driving techniques in a snowy, open parking lot, so you’re familiar with how your car handles. Consult your owner’s manual for tips specific to your vehicle.
Driving safely on icy roads
- Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
- Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
- Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
- Keep your lights and windshield clean.
- Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
- Don’t use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
- Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.
- Don’t pass snow plows and sanding trucks. The drivers have limited visibility, and you’re likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.
- Don’t assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.
If your rear wheels skid…
- Take your foot off the accelerator.
- Steer in the direction you want the front wheels to go. If your rear wheels are sliding left, steer left. If they’re sliding right, steer right.
- If your rear wheels start sliding the other way as you recover, ease the steering wheel toward that side. You might have to steer left and right a few times to get your vehicle completely under control.
- If you have standard brakes, pump them gently.
- If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS), do not pump the brakes. Apply steady pressure to the brakes. You will feel the brakes pulse — this is normal.
If your front wheels skid…
- Take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, but don’t try to steer immediately.
- As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and traction will return. As it does, steer in the direction you want to go. Then put the transmission in “drive” or release the clutch, and accelerate gently.
If you get stuck…
- Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper.
- Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.
- Use a light touch on the gas, to ease your car out.
- Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car.
- Pour sand, kitty litter, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels, to help get traction.
- Try rocking the vehicle. (Check your owner’s manual first — it can damage the transmission on some vehicles.) Shift from forward to reverse, and back again. Each time you’re in gear, give a light touch on the gas until the vehicle gets
November 5th, 2012
Many cars submerged by the floods caused by Hurricane Sandy could eventually turn up on the automotive market. Consumer advocates warn that buyers need to beware of vehicles that have suffered water damage, only to be dried out and marketed by sellers who conceal their histories. Nevertheless, new federal regulations could help protect car buyers.
On Wednesday, Geico had already received 20,000 auto claims for flood and other damage from the East Coast, according to a statement issued by Tony Nicely, chairman of the company. State Farm said it had received 4,000 claims. Those numbers are expected to grow, and many of the cars are sitting in salty water, a particular threat to electrical systems and air bags.
After a total-loss claim is paid, insurers typically sell the vehicle to the salvage market. Because flooded vehicles often bear no signs of physical damage, “they offer a prime opportunity for con men to clean them up and sell them,” said Larry Gamache, a spokesman for Carfax. After other flood events like Hurricane Katrina, he said, “the percentage of cars that ended up in the market was alarming.”
But because of strengthened federal regulations, consumers have more access to information about vehicle histories than in past major storms. In 2009, the Justice Department began requiring insurers to register vehicles designated total losses in the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System within 30 days of the designation. Salvage yards and self-insured companies, like dealerships and car-rental businesses, must also report totaled vehicles. The reports can be found at vehiclehistory.gov.
In the past, consumer advocates and legislators worried that differences in state laws could allow a car described on its title, or “branded,” as a flood vehicle in one state to emerge with a clean title in another state. Now, title-washing, as it is called, “is much less of a problem,” said Rosemary Shahan, president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety. Her group and other consumer advocates successfully sued the Justice Department in 2008, demanding that regulations be issued.
The result, Ms. Shahan said, is that vehiclehistory.gov tells consumers whether a vehicle has been totaled regardless of lax state titling laws or interstate sales. (The Web site notes, however, that compliance with its federal regulations varies by state, with 88 percent in full compliance.)
There’s also the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System, which is supported by user fees rather than federal money. Fees range up to $12.99 for vehicle history reports. Mr. Gemache noted that Carfax, which charges $39.99 for a comprehensive vehicle history, lets consumers check free whether a vehicle has been in a flood at carfax.com/flood. Ms. Shahan noted, however, that some states do not brand vehicles as flooded.
Vehicle histories and stronger laws have made fraudulent car sales more difficult, said Mark Schienberg, president of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association. Still, he said, his group warns its members to be alert when buying cars from the auction market. He said transactions through private sellers, which account for about half of all used car sales, call for caution.
Even detailed vehicle histories can miss flood damage, said Walter Hedge, owner of Walt’s Water Works, a car repair shop in Chesapeake, Va., that dries out minor leaks but will not attempt repairs on serious water damage. Customers have brought in vehicles with clean histories only to discover that “the car was four feet under water,” Mr. Hedge said. After that, he added, “the only thing that’s good is its sheet metal.”
October 29th, 2012
The National Auto Body Council (NABC) has announced its formal plan to deliver an accredited I-CAR curriculum-based training and support facility for disabled military veterans. The plan includes raising $1.5 million to purchase, completely renovate and equip a 30,000-square-foot training facility in San Antonio, Texas, on behalf of Operation Comfort’s Automotivation program.
Operation Comfort is a 501 C-3 nonprofit organization that complements the rehabilitation efforts carried out by the U.S. Army at the Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC). As a form of occupational therapy, the organization runs the Automotivation program through which disabled veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are helped with rehabilitation through automotive-related activities such as rebuilding and restoring cars, trucks and motorcycles.
“To our knowledge, no other industry-wide entity has made the effort to work directly with our wounded warriors to provide ongoing, industry-specific training,” said NABC Executive Director Chuck Sulkala. “These men and women will receive instruction in collision repair, estimating, vehicle refinishing and other related topics toward the goal of preparing them for reentry into the civilian workforce, namely our industry.”
In addition, the new building will serve as a host facility for I-CAR classes for the collision repair industry in the area.
“It is an honor for our organization to be involved in a project that brings all industry segments together to help those who have given so much for the peace we so dearly treasure,” said I-CAR Chairman John Van Alstyne. “It is the very least we can do for these brave men and women who have sacrificed so much. We welcome them into our industry with arms wide open.”
Vehicles donated to be repaired via Automotivation will become gifting opportunities for military families in the local San Antonio area through the organization’s Recycled Rides program. Tax deductible fundraising efforts are underway. Suggested donation levels are $100 for individuals and $500 per location for shops. Those who donate $100 or more will receive a commemorative dog tag and will be recognized on a permanent wall of thanks at the building site.
October 23rd, 2012
The California Autobody Association held its 4th Quarter Board of Director’s meeting at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose on October 20th. The prior evening a reception was hosted by the Santa Clara chapter for the attendees.
CAA is co-sponsoring the California Retail & Trade Business Conference in Los Angeles at the California State University on November 1st. This conference is being put on by the California State Board of Equalization titled “Minimize the Frustration of Taxation”. Registration information is on the CAA website.
The CAA Board of Directors approved the new slate of 2013 officers: Ben Mendoza, President, Mike Passof, 1st V.P., Don Feeley, V.P., Ted Stein, Treasurer, Kathy Mello, Secretary, and Dave Picton, Past President. These officers will be sworn in at the 1st qtr. Board meeting in 2013.
The CAA board approved a new Business Policy that explains the associations policy on non-contractual purchases of products and services.
CAA state chapters have continued to have the Labor Enforcement Task Force (LETF) speak at their meetings, explaining their inspection process and the areas they will be looking at.
Education Committee —– reported discussion on starting a resume portal for students. Also, determining the employability of students, and also putting together an Adopt a School program.
Membership Committee —- discussed ideas of setting up speakers list for chapters, putting out more information on how we help shops, and business related items in the newsletters.
Technical Review Committee—-discussed ways the CAA could put together a blue printing guide, the matrix wand product, clear coat capping, and labor rate surveys.
CAA Legislative Committee Report
Legislative Bill Update
1) SB 1460 (Yee)-: Automotive Repair: Replacement Parts: Oppose. This bill would have eliminated current law, which requires insurers who compel consumers to accept non-OEM crash parts when vehicles are repaired to warrant the parts are “of like kind, quality, safety, fit and performance” as OEM crash parts. The bill would have shifted all insurer warranty responsibility of aftermarket crash parts to the repair shop, third party vendors and suppliers. The bill also would have created a new legal presumption that all certified crash parts are presumed sufficient to return the motor vehicle to its pre-loss condition, even though the part may not fit properly or is defective. Status: Died
2) AB 1098 (Hagman)-: Insurance: Unfair methods of competition: automotive repair: Oppose. The amended version of the bill would have eliminated long-standing law that provided for fair and reasonable auto body practices. It was a last minute “gut and amend” and similar to SB 1460 (Yee). Status: The automotive repair version was defeated.
3) AB 2505 (Ma)-: Motor Vehicle Replacement Parts: Oppose. This bill would require that non-original equipment manufacturer certified aftermarket crash parts, including the name of the certifying entity be identified on the written estimate and invoice without providing definitions for “certified” and certifying entity. Status: Died
4) AB 1963 (Huber)-: Income Taxes: Sales and Use taxes: report: Concerns. This bill would have required the Legislative Analyst’s Office to assess changes in taxes including extending sales taxes to services in the state in order to reduce volatility and provide a report to the Legislature. Status: Vetoed by Governor.
The CAA will continue to monitor budget proposals that may be re-introduced next year including: 1) requiring small business to withhold 3% of payments to independent contractors and 2) extending the sales tax to automotive services (labor) or any other proposals that may have a negative impact on the automotive industry. The CAA will oppose such proposals.
The DOI has released the latest version of the proposed regulations dealing with standards for reasonable auto body repairs and procedures and use of aftermarket crash parts. The CAA believes these regulations are fair and reasonable for consumers, repair shops and insurers. The CAA is supporting the passage of the regulations. The text of the regulations are posted on the CAA website. Some insurers have threatened to file lawsuits to stop the DOI from implementing these regulations. The CAA will keep you posted.
The DOI will be also be releasing the latest draft of regulations pertaining to clarifying labor rate survey standards for conducting surveys and clarification of customer steering. The CAA has been actively involved with these important issues as well and will continue working with the DOI in providing input and keeping members advised.
Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR)
The BAR has announced that some auto repair facilities are overselling maintenance and fluid flush services to consumers that are unnecessary and not based on the car manufacturers recommendations. Repair shops that recommend more frequent fluid changes and/or unnecessary flushes could face disciplinary action. We will be meeting with the BAR on these issues